Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RCMP avoids cuts to vital services

OTTAWA—The RCMP says it will avoid cuts to vital police services—at least for now—due to revised funding agreements with the provinces, technological advances, and some internal streamlining.
Money shortfalls recently forced the Mounties to look at paring back some national services such as DNA analysis, fingerprinting operations, and criminal intelligence.

The squeeze meant that $32.5 million—almost one-fifth of what the national police force spends annually on the services (which many other players in the criminal justice system depend on)—was being scrounged from elsewhere within the RCMP.
The Mounties “can no longer manage” the funding deficit and had identified “potential significant cuts” to the National Police Services, warned a 2013 briefing note to the public safety minister, released under the Access to Information Act.
At this point, no cuts have been made, said Sean Jorgensen, the RCMP’s director of strategic policy for specialized policing services.
“We’re very close to having addressed the gap we identified several years ago,” Jorgensen said in an interview.
But he cautioned that the cutting-edge technologies the RCMP requires—from robotic DNA extractors to electron microscopes—means the money pressures will continue.
“You’re never going to solve a financial problem in the National Police Services because they’re constantly evolving,” he noted.
The National Police Services administered by the RCMP can be traced to the creation of central bureaus for fingerprint identification in 1908 and criminal records in 1910.
Today they include forensic laboratory services, the Canadian Firearms Program, the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Sex Offenders Registry, the Canadian Police Information Centre (a records database police services across the country consult daily), the Canadian Police College, and Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, among other operations.
Various reviews have pointed out the mushrooming number of services have lacked coherent overall guidance and support—instead being managed essentially as separate activities.

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