Latest stories

A woman sitting at a desk with a computer screen to her right and framed certificates on the wall and desk behind her.

Civilian investigators help convict criminals who defraud Canadians

Meena Bhatti, an RCMP civilian criminal investigator, enjoys being involved in the investigative process. Credit: RCMP


Civilian criminal investigators (CCIs) are using their high-tech skills to support RCMP criminal investigations and convict fraudsters and cybercriminals.

The CCI position was created in 2021 to ensure that the growing number of highly technical financial and cybercrime investigations benefit from skilled civilians working alongside experienced police officers.

In Toronto, David Slover became a CCI in 2021 after working as an RCMP criminal analyst, a job he says he enjoyed but he often did not feel part of an investigative team.

Slover says watching the impact of financial fraud on victimized family members was one of the reasons he applied to become a CCI and join the IMET team.

"I understand the severity of financial crimes and the havoc they can wreak on people," he says. "Some people never really recover from that."

The CCIs receive instruction and work with police officers conducting Criminal Code investigations. They can interview witnesses, obtain search warrants, participate in site searches, and testify in criminal proceedings. While CCIs have valid security clearance and limited peace officer status, they will not be armed and will not make arrests.

"As a CCI, I feel like I am considered an integral part of the team and I help further the investigation," says Slover. "IMET files can be huge and complex. Some can include thousands of documents. I think it's key to their success to have a dedicated person on the file from start to finish."

Growing numbers and skills

There are currently 25 CCIs who are part of Integrated Market Enforcement Teams (IMET) and Cybercrime Intvestigative Teams within RCMP Federal Policing in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. That number will continue to grow this year.

Mike Tennian became a CCI in 2021. He has a background in computer programming and worked in cybersecurity for the federal government.

"I really enjoy working in IT, and to be able to combine that in a law-enforcement role without having go the route of a police officer is something I couldn't pass up," he says.

Tennian says he's learning more about the federal policing aspect of the role each day, from the training curriculum and from the officers. He says working with RCMP officers "to lift the veil of anonymity that the internet provides fraudsters" is mutually beneficial.

"The regular members have so much experience, they can teach us about the investigative side," says Tennian. "But I'd also like to think there's a lot they can learn from us."

Improving the lives of Canadians

Meena Bhatti, who is based in Calgary, has extensive federal government experience in forensic accounting and became a CCI in January 2022, two years after joining the RCMP.

Bhatti says she was attracted to the CCI position because it moved her from the "sidelines" to becoming more involved in the investigative process.

She has supported a multi-jurisdictional fraud and money laundering investigation and took a statement from a witness in the United States, which required extensive knowledge of securities markets.

"This has provided me with the opportunity to enhance my investigative skills, develop new ones and use my knowledge in capital markets and forensic accounting and apply them to IMET investigations," says Bhatti, who previously worked with the Forensic Accounting Management Group at Public Services and Procurement Canada.

She was also instrumental in a case in which an Alberta man was convicted in a massive financial fraud. The judge publicly recognized Bhatti as a "cautious, reliable, and professional witness."

"If you like to do investigative work, this is the place to be," says Bhatti. "I feel my work has real meaning and an impact on the lives of Canadians."

To learn more about CCI positions, visit Civilian Criminal Investigators.

Date modified: