After several protests in Canada resulted in ongoing conflict situations that required police intervention, the RCMP developed training to help prepare police officers who attend such events.
The Community Conflict Management Group course focuses on the skills needed to build relationships of trust, respect and mutual understanding between the police and the public during all three protest stages: pre-event, event and post-event.
"While the course focuses on building relationships, with an emphasis on aboriginal communities and cultural awareness, it's designed to increase the preparedness of front-line police officers in response to any large-scale protest," says Insp. Kim Taplin, the director of National Aboriginal Policing and Crime Prevention Services. "Knowing who you can talk to in the community and industry, and having those pre-existing relationships, will help in all situations," says Taplin.
The course also covers topics that promote the understanding of human rights surrounding the freedom of association and expression, and reinforces that police response should be impartial, measured and respectful in all mediation efforts between the two parties.
The five-day course was delivered in two successful pilot sessions, one each in February and June, 2016, with another course scheduled for January 2017.
Members who meet the criteria, including possessing self-control, composure and effective communication skills, will be selected by senior ranking officials to take the course. Trained members can then be deployed as needed.
"Equipping our members with the necessary competencies and understanding the benefits of taking a measured approach — in any situation — is very important." says Taplin. "The end goal is to always resolve and avoid the unnecessary escalation of conflict."