Horizontal Evaluation of the National Anti-Drug Strategy
RCMP Component Piece
March 15, 2018
Table of contents
- 1.0 Background and Context
- 2.0 Findings
- 3.0 Conclusion
- 4.0 Endnotes and bibliography
Acronyms and abbreviations
- Contract and Aboriginal Policing
- Canada Border Services Agency
- Canada's Drug Strategy
- Canadian Police College
- Drug Recognition Expert
- Federal Policing Public Engagement
- Knowledge Exchange Strategy
- Marihuana Grow Operation
- National Anti-Drug Strategy
- National Youth Intervention and Diversion Program
- Prescription Drug Abuse
- Police Records Information Management Environnent
- Police Reporting and Occurrence System
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
1.0 Background and Context
Canada's Drug Strategy (CDS) was first launched in 1987 to address substance use and abuse through coordinated activities undertaken by a number of departments, agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The strategy was based on four fundamental program components: prevention, treatment, enforcement, and harm reduction. CDS was renewed in 1992, 1997, and 2003. In 2007, the Government of Canada announced new resources and the refocusing of existing programs and initiatives to create a new National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS). NADS included core federal programming initiated under CDS as well as new initiatives in support of prevention, treatment, and enforcement efforts. Stemming from the 2013 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada expanded NADS to address prescription drug abuse (PDA). Following the NADS 2012 Impact Evaluation, the Strategy was further modified to include Knowledge Exchange Strategies (KES) to ensure that the results and information developed from the federal investment are accessible and used by stakeholders and other government departments.
NADS is a horizontal initiative of 13 federal departments and agency partners that is led by the Department of Justice Canada (Justice). Activities are grouped under three main Action Plans: Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement.End note aBibliography 1
1.1 Program Description
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) received approximately $128.4 million between 2011-12 and 2015-16 to support its contribution to Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement activities. These activities were primarily delivered through two separate RCMP business lines: Federal Policing and Contract and Aboriginal Policing (CAP).End note b
1.1.1 Federal Policing
The majority of NADS-related funding received by the RCMP was allocated to Federal Policing to support the NADS Prevention and Enforcement Action Plans. Under the Prevention Action Plan, Federal Policing supports various initiatives across Canada aimed at enhancing public awareness of the nature, extent, and consequences of substance use and abuse.Bibliography 2 Under the Enforcement Action Plan, NADS funding helps increase the RCMP's capacity to proactively target organized crime involvement in illicit drug production and distribution operations.Bibliography 3
In 2012, when NADS was last evaluated, the RCMP's Drug Awareness and Drug Enforcement units were engaged in prevention and enforcement activities, while the RCMP's Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service was primarily responsible for NADS-related prevention activities. In 2013-14, Federal Policing underwent an organizational restructuring which entailed changing the way resources were deployed. In lieu of having staff focused on specific commodities (i.e., drugs), investigative resources under the restructured Federal Policing model, are allocated towards the highest-level threats to the safety and security of Canadians (e.g. organized crime networks involved in illicit drug trafficking). In addition, a new unit that specializes in engagement, called the Federal Policing Public Engagement (FPPE) unit was established.
1.1.2 Contract and Aboriginal Policing
CAP is responsible for providing program support to policing services under contract. This comprises Canada's three territories, eight provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports. Under the NADS Treatment Action Plan, CAP was responsible for the National Youth Intervention and Diversion Program (NYIDP). The NYIDP provided front-line RCMP employees with tools and training to consider alternatives to charging youth and to refer at-risk youth to community and treatment programs. Funding for this component sunsetted in March 2012.
Additionally, CAP's National Traffic Services implemented and manages the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program which provides training for police officers to identify drug-impaired persons usually focusing on drivers.
1.2 Purpose and Scope of the Evaluation
The 2016 evaluation of NADS led by Justice will assess the performance of funded activities conducted under NADS by the 13 participating departments and agencies from fiscal years 2011-12 to 2015-16. In alignment with its internal horizontal engagement protocols, the RCMP's National Program Evaluation Services was responsible for the collection and analysis of all internal RCMP information. The results of these evaluative activities are presented in this component piece which will serve as the RCMP's contribution to the overall evaluation of NADS.
1.3 Methodology and Approach
The methodology for the RCMP's component piece was developed in alignment with the 2015 NADS Performance Measurement Strategy and the data collection instruments provided by Justice for the 2016 evaluation of NADS. Data collection and research were conducted under the 2009 Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Evaluation, Directive on Evaluation Function, and Standard on the Evaluation for the Government of Canada, while the component piece has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the 2016 Policy on Results. Internal and external documentation were reviewed, and evaluators conducted semi-structured interviews with eight RCMP employees directly engaged in NADS-funded activities at the national level as well as three consultations with individuals from corporate services directly involved in supporting NADS activities.
Finding: NADS is aligned with the RCMP's mandate and roles and responsibilities.
Overall, the goal of NADS is to "contribute to safer and healthier communities by helping prevent use, treat dependency and reduce production and distribution of illicit drugs as well as by addressing prescription drug abuse."Bibliography 4 A review of key documents highlighted the relevance of NADS to the mandate and strategic priorities of the RCMP. Addressing crime associated with illicit drugs is aligned with the RCMP's mandate and within its roles and responsibilities; particularly the facets of preventing and investigating crime, enforcing laws, and providing vital operational support services to other police and law enforcement agencies within Canada and abroad.Bibliography 5 NADS is also aligned with the RCMP's strategic priorities of 'Serious and Organized Crime' and 'Youth' (via outreach and engagement and intervention and diversion).Bibliography 6 Six of seven interviewees who were asked about the continued need for the RCMP to work under NADS indicated there was a need. Four interviewees noted that there is a continued need for the partnerships and/or reporting together under NADS, while three interviewees pointed to the need for the formal funding.
This is further supported by executive direction; in the 2016-17 Annual Federal Policing Budget letter to Division Commanding Officers, it was noted that horizontal initiatives including NADS "continue to be an important requirement of the Federal Policing program. Federal Policing remains accountable for delivering and reporting results…"
2.2 Tracking and Reporting
Finding: The RCMP collects data and information on drug prevention and enforcement activities to support internal and external reporting needs.
Police-reported drug offences are recorded by RCMP staff in a records management system (called PRIME in British Columbia and PROS in the rest of Canada). These systems "integrate the entire scope of RCMP processes for collecting, managing, sharing and analyzing operational police information." In addition to the intended purpose of supporting policing operations, RCMP data and information is of particular interest to other government departments and international organizations. The RCMP, therefore, is called to produce unique reports on the topic of its drug prevention and enforcement work to address the needs of external audiences. This includes NADS annual reporting for Justice, which publishes an annual report providing an account of the collective performance of the 13 NADS partnersEnd note c.
2.2.1 Reporting Challenges
To support public reporting concerning the activities and outcome of NADS, federal partners developed a NADS Performance Measurement Strategy. Although the RCMP was an active participant in this work, after implementation it became apparent that the indicators established were labour-intensive to collect. Each year, the RCMP was required to complete six different NADS reporting templates including a Performance Indicator Reporting Table for each of the three action plans, and an end-of-year reporting template for each of the three action plans. The roll-up of all partners' templates was then used by Justice Canada to develop the NADS Annual Report.
Consultations concerning NADS reporting activities revealed a number of challenges when working to ensure information provided in the RCMP's NADS templates is timely, valid and consistent. The main challenge reported was that data to support all of the NADS indicators is not easily retrievable from a single, central database. To complete NADS templates, the RCMP relied on data extractions from its PROS/PRIME systems. However, the RCMP's records management systems were designed to capture information in support of police operations and not the performance indicators identified for NADS reporting. To retrieve additional information, RCMP staff from the 14 Divisions across Canada gathered data manually via various tools and spreadsheets.
When specifically reviewing the data gathered to support drug seizure reporting, there were challenges noted concerning how the RCMP was retrieving PROS/PRIME occurrence information and the interpretation of results. For example, a key challenge in reporting on the types of drugs seized is the reliance on using the PROS/PRIME data as the drug classification information entered is speculative on the part of the officer. A more reliable data source may be Health Canada who is responsible for testing and confirming the type of drugs seized in cases that lead to charges being laid. Similarly, studies completed in 2014-15 and 2015-16 by Federal Policing's Situational Awareness Support Unit concerning the RCMP's drug seizures revealed a number of discrepancies in how the number, quantity and value of drug seizures were reported. The studies corrected the reported information for those years; however, an ongoing exercise may be necessary to ensure systems data is validated moving forward.
When reviewing prevention related reporting, evaluators also noted inconsistencies. For example, information on outreach activities varied from the number of presentations given to the number of attendees, to the number of trainers trained. Furthermore, information covered some Divisions but not all, making it impossible to aggregate the actual reach of the RCMP's awareness raising activities across Canada. Moreover, the utility of some of the indicators in the reporting templates were questioned. For example, data on 'the number of awareness presentations' does not, as indicated by one of the key informants, serve as an indicator of the quality or impact of the programs. Captured in isolation, the information does not serve to determine whether and which activities are making a difference in communities. By way of example, in 2012-13, the RCMP gave 3,461 awareness presentations reaching 37,667 youths, 27,686 parents, and 8,612 professionals.Bibliography 7 These numbers, if consistently reported year-to-year, could provide an indication of the reach of prevention activities.
Finally, when asked whether NADS reporting could be made more effective and/or efficient, interviewees directly involved in NADS suggested that the templates be revised, indicators made generic, and reduced to focus primarily on RCMP data that can be retrieved from electronic systems.
2.3 Achievement of NADS Intended Outcomes
Finding: The RCMP has contributed to the achievement of the NADS intended outcomes under the Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Action Plans.
2.3.1 Prevention Action Plan Results
The intermediate NADS outcome for which the RCMP contributes to for prevention purposes is to enhance capacity among targeted populations to make informed decisions about illicit drug use and PDA to reduce risk-taking behaviours. Through the RCMP's FPPE and the National Aboriginal Policing and Crime Prevention Services Directorate, Federal Policing Services and CAP Services respectively provided community outreach programming to increase awareness, enhance public safety and reduce victimization of Canadians. This was achieved by mobilizing the public in addressing concerns and developing mutual goals. In collaboration with other government partners, the RCMP participated in workshops and discussions on controlled drugs and substances and produced training tools and products relevant to the role of police officers.
Community Outreach for Prevention Purposes
Federal Policing, CAP, and RCMP Divisions developed educational materials intended to increase knowledge about drugs and organized crime as well as raise awareness about the negative impacts of illicit drugs. While interventions were especially aimed at youth, the RCMP also engaged adult leaders and mentors. For example, in 2014-15, the RCMP trained, presented to, or engaged with 5,000 public safety, health care, educational institution employees, non-governmental organizations, and community-based resource people. In addition, the RCMP created the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention as an online hub for youth, educators and police to access crime prevention and victimization tools and resources, including on drugs and substance abuse.Bibliography 8
Given the importance of community-relevant prevention programming, each RCMP Division is encouraged to develop outreach activities and materials that make sense for their jurisdiction. Outreach materials were adapted to community needs and to provide up-to-date drug information as the drug market changed. In addition to materials disseminated, as of 2014-15, there were 14 formal programs that Divisions could use/tailor for their outreach needs. These included the following: Aboriginal Shield, Drug Abuse Resistance Education - DARE, Drugs & Sports, Drug Awareness Officers Training, Drug Endangered Children, Drugs in the Workplace, Kids & Drugs, Racing Against Drugs, Prescription drug abuse-related initiatives, Synthetic Drug Initiative, Community Prevention Education Continuum, a mobile application for drugs and organized crime awareness, organized crime presentations, and counter-gang programs.Bibliography 9 Some programs and awareness activities have built-in performance metrics such a pre and post surveys of knowledge.
Community Outreach for Enforcement Purposes
From 2011-12 to 2014-15, Federal Policing engaged in numerous public outreach activities related to Enforcement. The purpose of these efforts was to exchange information, engage in joint efforts, and to identify areas of common concern and jurisdiction. An example is the Synthetic Drug Initiative which brought together partners from public and private sectors to tackle activities related to the importation, exportation, production and distribution of illicit substances of abuse.
The RCMP also facilitated the creation of a new body called the National Council against Marihuana Grow Operations and Clandestine Laboratories that held its first meeting in November 2012. The coalition of community, industry, and government groups share best practices on increasing public awareness about the societal hazards of marihuana grow operations (MGOs) and clandestine drug laboratories, and advocate for a national approach aimed at helping prevent, detect, and deter such criminal acts.
Additionally, a public website that identifies which residences have been subject to a judicial search warrant in relationship to an MGO was developed in 2011. Although no longer active, in its first year, the website received more than 400,000 visits and was referenced by more than 300 separate sources.
2.3.2 Treatment Action Plan Results
As previously noted, the RCMP's involvement in the Treatment Action Plan ended in fiscal year 2011-12. In keeping with the scope of this evaluation, evaluators looked at results achieved in fiscal year 2011-12 by the RCMP's NYIDP. The key objective of this program was to reduce crime and incarceration rates for youth by getting the right youth to the right services at the right time. The rationale for RCMP involvement in this area was based on research that "strict sanctions have little to no effect on young offender recidivism rates and in some cases actually increase recidivism." The model seeks to make full use of community resources to address the underlying causes of crime. It seeks to ensure the strategic use of resources by referring moderate-risk youth to community services so that only high-risk youth are sent into the correctional system.Bibliography 10
In its final year of funding, the RCMP developed and started implementing a screening tool for police officers to be able to assess youth's level of criminality and risk to the community, and began working with provincial and community partners to develop community mobilization protocols to improve interventions with youth. Community mobilization committees were developed to provide opportunities for RCMP employees to become familiar with community programs available to accept referrals, and facilitate the identification and referral of at-risk youth to treatment programs. Specifically, after an RCMP employee completes the risk screening tool to determine whether an at-risk youth would likely benefit from being diverted away from the criminal justice system, with the permission of the guardians, the youth's file is brought to the attention of the community committee. Committee members, typically made up of provincial and local service providers, will then present all potential services and discuss the best possible options for the youth. Official referrals are then made and the RCMP employee would informally follow-up with the youth.
2.3.3 Enforcement Action Plan Results
One of the key inputs into the RCMP's enforcement activities was developing highly-trained RMs. RMs occupying illicit drug enforcement positions need an intrinsic understanding of organized crime in order to move investigations forward, as well as an understanding of chemistry and how to safely enter and dismantle ad hoc clandestine labs. As a result, extensive training is necessary to ensure the integrity of investigations, the health and safety of RMs, and the overall sustainability of the RCMP's illicit drug response capability. As such, anyone who occupies a position on a synthetic team must be trained. Specifically, the Ontario Police College and the Canadian Police College (CPC) offer eleven related courses such as Drug Identification training and Advanced Drug Investigative Techniques.
Similarly, to assess drug-impaired driving, the RCMP provides and certifies DREs. The RCMP also worked closely with the CPC to design training on the risks associated to exposure, handling and hazards associated with chemicals and grow op installations. News alerts and internal webpages were also disseminated to RCMP officers to keep them updated on emerging drugs, such as fentanyl, while providing guidance for safe interventions.
Information obtained from the Situational Awareness Support Unit indicates that the RCMP's drug-related seizures increased from 2014-15 from 35,178 to 37,194 with cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine, and anabolic steroids remaining the most frequent types of drugs seized. The estimated street value of seizures also increased from 2014-15 from $152 million to $154 million. Drugs were seized most frequently in Montreal, Toronto, and Hamilton. The Evaluation team did not seek to assess the accuracy and validity of the data provided.
It was noted in annual NADS reporting that partnerships, including federal and municipal partnerships, were a key factor that supported the RCMP's ability to engage in enforcement activities. Specifically, the RCMP worked with municipalities where threats were identified, as well as through the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime, a joint initiative of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, aimed at developing operational coordination between local, municipal, and federal enforcement agencies.Bibliography 11
Each year the RCMP seeks to measure the number of joint forces operations that it engages in by fiscal year. The RCMP's involvement ranged from 18 to 32 joint forces operations per fiscal year during the reference period. For example, the RCMP worked with the Canada Revenue Agency to leverage revenue strategies to prosecute those involved in drug operations such as tax evasion. The RCMP worked jointly with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to target precursors arriving at tactical points of entry into Canada (Project Catalyst). From 2012-14, in the response to crime groups exploiting the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, the RCMP supported Health Canada in the drafting of amendments to the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.End note d
Investigation of major organized crime groups supported by partnerships
Developing the RCMP's intelligence capacity to support enforcement activities was a focus during the time under review. For instance, many of the discovered MGOs were a result of proactive intelligence gathering. Similarly, the RCMP focused on developing its connections with community organizations and the private sector in order to support intelligence gathering activities related to synthetic drugs (e.g., Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors, Canadian Fertilizer Institute, and Chemistry Industry Association of Canada). For instance, an initiative titled Chem Watch was implemented to sensitize the industry on the issues at hand and engage these players in addressing the problems linked to the diversion and the use of their chemicals in the illicit production of synthetic drugs. As a result of these types of engagements, industry partners provided intelligence that supported seizures. In addition, the RCMP established an "alert-bulletin" system for a series of unregulated essential chemicals that has been sought after by organized crime for the production of synthetic drugs. This resulted in many tips which allowed investigators to establish new investigations.
Interception and disruption of major international drug trade investigations
From 2011-15, the RCMP leveraged partnerships with various international organizations (e.g., the G8, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Organization of American States) and individual countries (e.g., India and China) in order to circumvent the illegal diversion of chemicals from those countries into Canada.
The RCMP's International Liaison Officers provided direct assistance and support by working with counterparts in the countries within their areas of responsibility to advance police operations, support intelligence gathering and the sharing of best practices. Furthermore, as a means of fostering relations and encouraging information sharing, the RCMP invested in building capacity in source countries, focusing on synthetic drug operations and chemical diversion programming. The RCMP also welcomed international delegations to Canada to share procedures and investigative methods when dealing with MGOs (e.g., European Union Seminars on Cannabis and Organized Crime in 2011-12). Additionally, RMs engaged with international chemical companies with the goal of developing a mechanism for "real-time" information exchanges on precursor chemical shipments destined for Canada. Finally, the RCMP worked with international partners to support enforcement activities in Canada. For the last several years, the RCMP has participated in INTERPOL's Operation Pangea, which targets online counterfeit and unlicensed medicines. In 2013-14, Operation Pangea VI spanned 100 countries and resulted in the seizure of counterfeit and illicit drugs, with an estimated street value of $36 million USD.Bibliography 12
Drug Recognition Expert Program
Each year, CAP receives NADS funding to support its National Traffic Services to specifically contribute to the RCMP's national strategy to reduce the number of impaired drivers on Canadian roadways.Bibliography 13 The strategy focuses on increasing public awareness and organizing enforcement initiatives across Divisions, with special attention paid to the growing concern of drug-impaired driving. During the reference period, the program had 471 DREs across Canada. In 2015 there were 1,889 operational DRE evaluations. Of these 1,889 evaluations there were 1,615 cases that were pursued by DRE investigators for charges and provincial administrative sanctions. Over the time of the evaluation review, the RCMP worked closely with Justice to explore new tools to facilitate the detection and identification of drug-impaired drivers and RCMP continued to update its courses for the DRE program.Bibliography 14
2.4 NADS Knowledge Exchange Strategy
Finding: The RCMP engaged in knowledge exchange with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
The NADS KES was born out of the findings and recommendations of the 2012 NADS Evaluation. The 2012 evaluation identified challenges in disseminating knowledge, best practices, and research findings to potential users, and recommended that a mechanism for disseminating knowledge between federal partners be established to ensure that the results and information developed from the federal investment are accessible and used by stakeholders and other government departments. Since KES was developed, RCMP representatives have attended three meetings, the most recent being in November 2015.
Interviewees expressed general concern that the challenge in harnessing NADS' KES is the diversity of roles and responsibilities of the 13 partners involved. Instead, interviewees found knowledge exchange through targeted partnerships to be of more value. The RCMP contributed to KES goals through working partnerships with policing agencies, enforcement-relevant partners such as CBSA, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. The RCMP also worked to circulate information more broadly through NADS-related web-content to partners and share educational and awareness materials across Canada as well as with international partners in the United States, United Kingdom, North Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
2.5 RCMP NADS Funding
Broadly, the RCMP receives on-going funding for its drug-related prevention and enforcement activities from three funding sources: the 2003 CDS, the 2007 Enforcement Action Plan of the National Anti-Drug Strategy, and the 2007 Investments in the Prevention and Treatment Action Plans of the National Anti-Drug Strategy which ended in FY 2011-12.
The RCMP received a total of $3.6 million over five years (2007-08 to 2011-12) from the Treatment Action Plans in order to support CAP's efforts to "enhance the ability of RCMP officers to refer youth with substance abuse problems into assessment and treatment as well as to assist their reintegration into the community." No ongoing funding was allocated for treatment to the RCMP after 2012.
In accordance with the NADS funding commitments, the RCMP planned spending was $25.4 million in annual ongoing funding for public engagement and enforcement activities from 2012-13 to 2014-15; however, this amount decreased to $21.7 million (including $2.8 M for PWGSC) in 2015-16 due to cost containment and efficiency exercises.Bibliography 15
|Federal Policing Public Engagement |
(formerly Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Services) (Prevention Action Plan)
|National Youth Intervention and Diversion Program (ended 2011-12) (Treatment Action Plan)||0.7||-||-||-||-||0.7|
|Federal Policing Project Based Investigations (formerly Marijuana and Clandestine Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime) (Enforcement Action Plan)||26.2||22.5||22.5||22.5||16.7||110.4|
PWGSC Accommodation charges(Funding transferred to PWGSC)
|Total Planned Spending||30.5||25.4||25.4||25.4||21.7||128.4|
Table 2 below provides actual spending for RCMP NADS activities from 2011-12 to 2015-16. A comparison of spending to planned spending results in a variance of up to $9.0M in a given year. Explanations provided for the variances included funding re-allocation based on re-prioritization, budget pressures and the Deficit Reduction Program.
|Federal Policing Public Engagement |
(formerly Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Services) (Prevention Action Plan)
|National Youth Intervention and Diversion Program (ended 2011-12) (Treatment Action Plan)||0.6||-||-||-||-|
|Federal Policing Project Based Investigations (formerly Marijuana and Clandestine Lab Teams/Proceeds of Crime) (Enforcement Action Plan)||18.9||17.3||16||22.5||16.7|
Internal Services and Accommodations
|Total Actual Spending||21.5||19||18.2||25.4||21.7|
Addressing crime associated with illicit drugs is within the mandate and roles and responsibilities of the RCMP. As such, key interviewees emphasized the continued need for the RCMP to work under the NADS framework.
The RCMP collects data and information on drug enforcement and prevention activities, not only to support police operations, but also to address external needs. To support these internal and external reporting needs, the RCMP continues to focus on improving the consistency and accuracy of its data.
The RCMP contributed to the NADS outcomes under all three Action Plans. Under the Prevention Action Plan, the RCMP contributed to knowledge products, resources, and tools to inform, support, and deliver outreach aimed at preventing illicit drug use. Nevertheless, the evaluation revealed that prevention activities, delivered by CAP and Federal Policing, would benefit from improved coordination. Although involvement ended in fiscal year 2011-12, the RCMP contributed to the Treatment Action Plan via the NYIDP. Finally, under the Enforcement Action Plan, the RCMP engaged in numerous activities related to training, drug seizures, investigations of major organized crime groups, the interception and disruption of major international drug trade activities, and the enforcement of impaired drivers.
4.0 End notes and bibliography
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