The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and indeed all law enforcement agencies in Canada depend on public trust to do their job well. When citizens start to question the actions of the police and that public trust is shaken, police work becomes immeasurably more difficult. This is readily apparent to the RCMP which works in communities, both large and small, all across Canada. Since local Mounties are well-known within their communities, any questionable police conduct will likely have a direct impact on the reputation of the local detachment. Law enforcement agencies depend on the willingness of the public to share information and provide assistance; neither will be forthcoming when citizens do not trust the police.
Earning public trust may take years while its loss can take seconds. It is the foundation upon which rests the RCMP’s ability to protect Canadians and to enforce the law. The RCMP fosters this trust by earning it, each and every day, through the service and commitment of its 22,6001 members. These dedicated members serve Canadians under the statutory obligations of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. 2
The discipline system set forth in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act aims to correct the behaviour of those few whose actions fall below the standards set out in the RCMP Code of Conduct (see Appendix A). The RCMP is accountable for the acts of all of its members. Timely corrective action is of the utmost importance as it sends a clear message to the member that substandard behaviour is unacceptable. When the same message is received by the public, it serves to preserve and restore public trust.
In recent years, the RCMP’s disciplinary system has been thoroughly studied.3 The recommendations resulting from those studies form the basis of the improvements being made to the disciplinary process. Last year’s report described the creation of the Adjudicative Services Branch as the central point of accountability for formal discipline and detailed the structural changes that were adopted to facilitate monitoring, planning and managing the formal disciplinary system within the organization. During the current reporting period, the benefits of these structural changes have been manifested. This report will focus on the many improvements that have been made during the past year, namely:
These initiatives, and others mentioned in this report, highlight the ongoing efforts being made to increase efficiency and accountability within the disciplinary process.
The RCMP faced numerous challenges during the reporting period, including major operational priorities such as the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and planning for the G8 and G20 Summits. The Adjudicative Services Branch actively contributed to these efforts and, as a result, experienced a reduction of its resources. Furthermore, the implementation of last year’s structural changes obliged the Branch to deal with budget constraints and staffing issues. The Adjudicative Services Branch looks forward to stabilizing its resources and building its capacity to undertake projects such as trend analyses for both formal and informal discipline in the coming year.
The creation of the Office of Professional Integrity, as described at Chapter 2, constitutes another significant structural change within the RCMP. The intent of the new Office is to better address issues of conduct along a continuum that ranges from values and ethics to discipline and compliance. Although this will enable an integrated ethics and discipline regime, it is too early to report the projected impact on discipline. The Adjudicative Services Branch will be working with the Office of Professional Integrity to incorporate the management of formal discipline along this continuum.
In March 2010, the RCMP Reform Implementation Council recommended that progress on a wide range of discipline initiatives be reviewed and addressed in a comprehensive report.4 During the next reporting period, the Adjudicative Services Branch will collaborate with its partners in the Office of Professional Integrity to conduct this review and to produce a report detailing the full continuum of formal and informal responses to employee behaviour.
Chief Superintendent Richard Evans
Director General, Adjudicative Services Branch
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
1 All figures with respect to the number of RCMP members are based on the on-strength establishment of the Force as of September 2009. For more information and the latest numbers, please visit www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/about-ausujet/organi-eng.htm. Of the 22,600 members, approximately 19,000 are regular members holding peace officer status. The remainder are civilian members.
3 These studies include: Canada, Report of the Commission of Inquiry Relating to Pubic Complaints, Internal Discipline and Grievance Procedures within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services, 1976); Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Pay Council Review of RCMP Internal Discipline System; Final Report and Recommendations (2005); Canada, Rebuilding the Trust: Report of the Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP (Ottawa, 2007). For a synopsis of the findings of these reports, please refer to the 2008-2009 Annual Report on the Management of the RCMP Disciplinary Process.