The following letter by Mike Duheme, Commissioner of the RCMP, is being published in response to an article published by the Globe and Mail.
I'm writing in response to the Nov. 29 editorial titled "Time to detach the RCMP from local policing." My displeasure stems from the editorial board's apparent lack of knowledge of the RCMP. To suggest that the RCMP is "detached" from the people and communities we serve is false, as is the claim that there is a lack of accountability or oversight.
The piece mischaracterizes the contract policing program, which is administered by Public Safety Canada and includes formal agreements with municipal, provincial and territorial partners. Anything with impact on the cost, quality or capacity of police services requires extensive consultation, and under these agreements it is the Mayor or provincial and territorial Minister who determine the policing budgets, policing priorities and level of service provided by the RCMP.
The RCMP provides policing services under contract in more than 650 detachments including approximately 150 municipalities across the country. We also provide policing services in approximately 550 Indigenous communities; 450 First Nations, 40 Inuit, and 58 Métis communities.
In the communities we serve, detachment commanders meet regularly with municipal leaders to discuss local priorities and performance plans. They often participate in public meetings to speak directly with community members. The RCMP works closely with local partners on issues like intimate partner violence, mental health, homelessness and victim services. Community engagement and crime prevention are at the core of everything we do. Client survey results indicate a strong level of satisfaction with our work.
The RCMP recognizes that jurisdictions are best placed to determine their policing needs. We are always willing to work with our partners on how best to meet the needs of communities we serve.
As an organization, we continue to strive to be a healthy, trusted and inclusive police service, and we will continue to evolve to meet modern expectations. We have learned from the tragedy that happened in Nova Scotia and have already implemented many of the recommended changes. And we know that much more work, resources and partnerships are needed over the long-term.
What I want to reinforce is that our 30,000 employees are incredibly committed to Canada and Canadians, and we have deep personal, family and social connections to the communities we serve. RCMP employees perform exceptional work every day, providing an essential service to Canadians by helping keep their communities safe and secure.
Needless to say, I become disappointed when reading a newspaper article such as this one for which the author conveys incorrect facts and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the RCMP.
I would welcome the opportunity to share the testimonies from some of the many Canadians who can speak to the positive impact we've had on their communities, and to share more on the work we are doing every day to improve our organization and its service to Canadians.