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Short-staffed RCMP look at lifting ban on recruits with criminal records

daftandbarmy

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Dudley do Wrong?  ::)


The RCMP are taking a radical look at their recruitment strategy and could ditch credit checks and the ban on recruits with criminal backgrounds to help them rebuild their depleted ranks.

The Mounties have been plagued by staffing challenges in recent years and are looking at how to convince more women and visible minorities to don the red serge.

An internal document, obtained through access to information, suggests credit checks, the criminal background ban, the two-hour aptitude test and long stints at the training depot could all be eliminated from the hiring process as senior ranks try to make a career as a Mountie more attractive.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/rcmp-recruitment-gender-1.4954015
 

Haggis

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Every major law enforcement agency in Canada is facing the same challenges.  Everyone is recruiting from the same demographic pool, a pool in which law enforcement is not looked at as a career of choice.
 

mariomike

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daftandbarmy said:
The RCMP are taking a radical look at their recruitment strategy and could ditch credit checks and the ban on recruits with criminal backgrounds to help them rebuild their depleted ranks.

QUOTE

Prior to the early 1980s, the RCMP recruited new members aged from 19 to about 25. The practice was relatively customary of those days, and based on three precise beliefs from the RCMP. First, policing could not be the second career of an individual. Second, young men were more moldable than older individuals to the police subculture. Third, criminal activity was linked to adulthood; by hiring young adults, the RCMP secured more chances that those individuals would have a crime free background.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCMP_recruitment#Age

END QUOTE

( The link no longer works. )

Regarding "Life Experience",

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/gazette/fitness-age?rec
"Joining the RCMP as a second career isn't unusual — the average age of a cadet at Depot, the RCMP's national training centre, is 28."



 

brihard

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Without seeing the original material, it looks like this article is a bit of a sensationalized look at a comprehensive analysis on the recruiting process. I *think* that at the heart of this, they had someone sit down, look at each stage of what a prospective Mountie goes through to get in, and challenge each step's validity- actually not a bad exercise for corporate processes to occasionally go through. What I'm *not* seeing in this article is any indication of conclusions that were recommended to and accepted by RCMP brass, resulting in changes to the recruiting process in the past couple years. Credit checks, a lengthy trip to Depot, medical standards, etc etc. It looks like what happened was barriers were identified. And that's fair and reasonable- something can be identified as a barrier but still ultimately be deemed to be necessary and appropriate.

The RCMP is unquestionably in crisis. They're short a couple thousand people Canada wide. Anecdotally both the number and the quality of recruits has fallen. It's harder to attract good people.

The RCMP is badly underpaid and under-compensated compared to most major police services in Canada. Mounties in most of Canada are making $12k - $15k a year less than their comparable ranks in municipal and provincial police services. they also accrue pension at a slower rate than some (2% / year vs 2.33% per year for some others), and have seen some other benefits whittled down. RCMP members in many places face the same challenges with the career growth of their spouse that we see in the military, due to geographic mobility, particularly early in a mountie's career. Many of the palces policed by the RCMP are simply less desirable places to live. Right off the hop the RCMP will struggle to attract applicants unwilling to risk being posted to North Battleford, SK, or Thompson, MB, or Fort McMurray, AB. Someone growing up in the lower mainland of BC, knowing the housing costs there, would be mor eliekly to wisht o go for a career with Vancouver Poolice, or Abbotsford, or Delta, or New Westminster, rather than roll the dice on RCMP detachments in Surrey, Burnaby, or Richmond, where they'll make significantly less money in a painfully expensive housing market.

The actual hiring of RCMP members is a barrier. The recruitment process is long. Generally longer than municipal services. A prospective recruit who applies to the RCMP, OPP, Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto will probably get snapped up by one of those other services well before the RCMP process the application. There is a shortage in administrative personnel to actually process applications for joining.

Against all this, the RCMP *should* be an employer of choice. It has all the right ingredients, it's just that the chef burned it all. The career prospects are unparalleled. While the rural and remote policing is a reality (and can be a phenomenal experience in their own right), so too are working on provincial and national level integrated teams for serious and organized crime, national security, and counter terrorism. There's a whole protective operations world that provides security to the PM, GG, senior government members, foreign diplomats and others at home and overseas. Recruits are even going to these various places right out of Depot now. There are integrated teams doing maritime patrol and vessel boarding on the great lakes and the west coast. There are emergent specializations on technological and cyber crime, working hand in hand with partner agencies and international allies. In basically any aspect of the world of policing, the RCMP has a unit or organization somewhere that excels at it and helps set the national (or even international) standard. Even the members on general duty taking 911 calls are getting early-career experience that a lot of their municipal counterparts simply won't because in those smaller communities, the patrol members handle every aspect of a file themselves. There's a good reason so many Mounties are snapped up by other police services as experienced lateral entries.

But it's a tight labour market for prospective cops. It's not a career a lot of people want. It's a relatively lucrative one, but a lot of 'suck' can come with it. And so every police service is absolutely competing for good people. The RCMP comes chained to the anchor of federal bureaucracy.

Pay *has* to increase to remain competitive. The RCMP just wrapped up a unionization vote a couple days ago with results pending some time this spring (that's a separate and messy story in its own right). Once there's a collective agreement in place, compensation *will* come up. But that's a few years out. Hiring processes need to be better resourced so that motivated applicants can be processed swiftly. Internally, human resources need to be better handled so that more Mounties are retained rather than changing employers. And then when all of this changes, they will need to sit back and wait a while, because it takes a while for the brand to catch up, and for serving Mounties to again begin recommending friends and family members to pursue the career. A lot of applicants are referrals from serving members- and at present a lot of serving members simply won't.
 

Infanteer

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Brihard said:
Against all this, the RCMP *should* be an employer of choice. It has all the right ingredients, it's just that the chef burned it all. The career prospects are unparalleled. While the rural and remote policing is a reality (and can be a phenomenal experience in their own right), so too are working on provincial and national level integrated teams for serious and organized crime, national security, and counter terrorism.

Sounds like "Hey, join the FBI and work on important national policing issues, but also the chance (risk) of being posted as a member of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department."

Perhaps the RCMP should aim to relinquish provincial policing, give the provinces time to sort themselves out, and focus on the federal stuff?
 

mariomike

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Brihard said:
. they also accrue pension at a slower rate than some (2% / year vs 2.33% per year for some others),

RCMP should have received the 2.33% increase years ago.

Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System ( OMERS ) Supplemental Pension Plan for Police, Firefighters and Paramedics,
https://www.omers.com/OMERS/media/Sponsor-PDF/Supplemental_Plan_Text_-_Restated_-FINAL_(3).pdf

That is based on the best three years of employment, at a 2.33 per cent accrual rate for each year of credited service.

This brings members up to 70 per cent of pre-retirement income ( with annual COLA* ) in 30 years, rather than 35. 

*OMERS pensions receive an annual inflation increase. The increase as of January 1, 2019 is 2.29%.


 

brihard

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Infanteer said:
Sounds like "Hey, join the FBI and work on important national policing issues, but also the chance (risk) of being posted as a member of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department."

Perhaps the RCMP should aim to relinquish provincial policing, give the provinces time to sort themselves out, and focus on the federal stuff?

Nobody should be joining the RCMP - at present - to immediately get into plainclothes major crime / national security stuff. Yes that is starting to happen more frequently, but it's made clear to everyone that the expectation should be contract policing somewhere. Anything different is still an exception. Going straight to something federal like that is an exception born of some necessity.

With that said the RCMP is beginning to look at career 'streams'. Anecdotally, what I've heard enough to feel comfortable repeating is that contract (uniformed, community first responder policing), federal, and protective would be the three likely streams, with career entry and training specialziation right from partway through Depot. Transfering from one to the other would require some training to achieve, rather than the current system of just applying for a job posting.

It shouldn't be the organization's place to 'try' to get into or out of any specific type of policing. A move to reduced contract policing is likely going to happen, especially with the city of Surrey (800 Mounties - the largest single detachment) having stated its intent to create a municipal service in the next few years. If they succeed, that may set off a bit more of a cascade. Losing Surrey will be disruptive. Losing more than Surrey would become transformational.

Under provincial legislation in several provinces (and I just double checked AB and BC's respective law to ensure I'm up to date), the provinces have legal responsibility to provide policing from the "provincial police" to rural areas and small municipalities. Larger municipalities are responsible for providing policing services either through their own service, or contracting to the Provincial Police. At present, the Provincial Police are, by agreement with the federal government, the RCMP.

The federal government would need to decide on a lengthy time frame (10 years?) that they would be realigning the RCMP and moving away from providing provincial policing. They would need to tell the provinces that they will not be entering service agreements past the duration of current ones / subject to whatever exit provisions exist.

Right now any contract partners using RCMP get 10% federal subsidy on policing costs for large municipalities and I think 30% for small ones. There would need to be negotiations between federal/provincial on that.

I think we will see a reduced RCMP contract presence because of municipalities walking away, rather than the feds.


mariomike said:
RCMP should have received the 2.33% increase years ago.

Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System ( OMERS ) Supplemental Pension Plan for Police, Firefighters and Paramedics,
https://www.omers.com/OMERS/media/Sponsor-PDF/Supplemental_Plan_Text_-_Restated_-FINAL_(3).pdf

That is based on the best three years of employment, at a 2.33 per cent accrual rate for each year of credited service.

This brings members up to 70 per cent of pre-retirement income ( with annual COLA* ) in 30 years, rather than 35. 

*OMERS pensions receive an annual inflation increase. The increase as of January 1, 2019 is 2.29%.

RCMP, as federal employees, have the same 2%/y to 35 years/70% as the CAF and public service. I don't see that changing. But it will be a point that may help leverage other concessions in collective agreement negotiations.
 

mariomike

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Brihard said:
RCMP, as federal employees, have the same 2%/y to 35 years/70% as the CAF and public service.

They didn't give us the 2.33% accrual rate completely out of the goodness of their hearts.

As a members of public safety occupations  *, early retirement for police officers ( that would include RCMP who respond to 9-1-1 calls in some communites ), fire fighters and paramedics has long been considered to be in the best interest of the communities they serve.

That has become especially important now that the average age of recruits has increased to around 28.

*According to Canada's Income Tax Act,  Public Safety Occupation ( PSO ) means the occupation of,

(a) firefighter,
(b) police officer,
(c) corrections officer,
(d) air traffic controller,
(e) commercial airline pilot, or
(f) paramedic;
https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.,_c._945/page-107.html



 

Colin Parkinson

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Most people cannot afford to go to Depot, even with the stipend they now pay. They have senior management issues that make the Army look like a well oiled machine. There is often little reward for doing your job well. I know one officer that got criticized for being to efficient at finding stolen boats and was told to stop, as they didn't want to pay the storage fees. I know one officer right now in the Surrey detachment who basically has a new story about his management every time I see him. I am only surprised that they have the manpower now that they do. They certainly don't deserve the rank and file members they have now.
 

brihard

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Colin P said:
Most people cannot afford to go to Depot, even with the stipend they now pay. They have senior management issues that make the Army look like a well oiled machine. There is often little reward for doing your job well. I know one officer that got criticized for being to efficient at finding stolen boats and was told to stop, as they didn't want to pay the storage fees. I know one officer right now in the Surrey detachment who basically has a new story about his management every time I see him. I am only surprised that they have the manpower now that they do. They certainly don't deserve the rank and file members they have now.

Recruits get $500 a week for the time they're at Depot. Definitely an improvement from the old days. However they aren't actually hired, they are't employees, and they lack all of the protections that would come from being employees of the organization. That's a shortcoming.

There are some problems with management for sure... Experiences vary. I typically find that it's a loud and small minority who have had those really stupidly bad experiences. In most cases it's no worse than any other bureaucracy. What the RCMP don't have that would help is a proper institutionalization of leadership the way the military does. There's minimal formal training, and what there is is more managerial. The system doesn't inherently value 'leaders' the way the military does, doesn't push them up the career ladder. A lot of excellent leaders exist who stay very low in rank because they're content as a senior constable or corporal, and there's nothing to propel them upwards. Conversely a lot of career climbers are able to do so based off flimsy competency examples, and their ability to lead and look after people isn't assessed, nor is it a criteria for anything.

A challenge is that any reform that is training-intensive (e.g., 'career courses' is difficult. Whereas the military is usually training and occasionally operational, the RCMP like any police service is always operational and only occasionally training. With resources already being thin, it would be difficult to take good junior supervisors off the road and send them to NCO development courses for a couple weeks.

The organization will have to find its own way. I hope they can be smart enough to latch onto good external ideas and run with them. I hope they also stay resilient against the allure of expediency.
 

OceanBonfire

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I have full respect to the men and women in uniform, but with this I've completely lost respect to that organization.

Let me explain.

One of my best friends since childhood applied a while ago. He's a visible minority, has a B.Sc. in Computer Science (and he wanted to go into cybercrime investigation), a fitness freak, no financial issue, and not a single criminal record. Everything they seek. In short, the whole application/recruiting process went smooth and he never lost any motivation from beginning to the end. Finally, they chose not to hire him. He was disappointed while I was mad angry.

When they decided to lower their standards by accepting permanent residents, I got mad, again. And now this?!

While this was a singular experience, I think the issue isn't with the hiring/recruiting process but rather an internal one with those who make the decisions of who gets hired.
 

daftandbarmy

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Infanteer said:
Sounds like "Hey, join the FBI and work on important national policing issues, but also the chance (risk) of being posted as a member of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department."

Perhaps the RCMP should aim to relinquish provincial policing, give the provinces time to sort themselves out, and focus on the federal stuff?

Surrey is saying goodbye to the RCMP, ostensibly because of a) cost and b) lack of community identity with its police force.

This would be a good example of how the RCMP can get out of the 'PC plod' role, handing over to community police forces where it makes sense, and move more into the national/international anti-criminal sphere. I assume they are addicted to the 'cash crack' of a regular income of municipal contract dollars though....

https://globalnews.ca/news/4779722/surrey-budget-rcmp-hiring-freeze/
 

brihard

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daftandbarmy said:
Surrey is saying goodbye to the RCMP, ostensibly because of a) cost and b) lack of community identity with its police force.

This would be a good example of how the RCMP can get out of the 'PC plod' role, handing over to community police forces where it makes sense, and move more into the national/international anti-criminal sphere. I assume they are addicted to the 'cash crack' of a regular income of municipal contract dollars though....

https://globalnews.ca/news/4779722/surrey-budget-rcmp-hiring-freeze/

I have no clue how he’s claiming that “cost” is a reason to ditch RCMP in Surrey. Cost would be a reason to keep them. The feds subsidize Surrey’s policing by 10%, and Mounties are paid and compensated far less than municipal forces in the region. That claim doesn’t pass the sniff test.
 

mariomike

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For reference to the discussion,

Globe and Mail

March 7, 2018

QUOTE

The RCMP's thin red line: Is contract policing unsustainable?
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/rcmp-contract-policing-investigation/article38085153/
Communities across Canada that lack their own police depend on Mounties as the cheaper option. But with forces facing heavy caseloads, staffing crunches and looming unionization, critics wonder if the trade off is worth it .

END QUOTE

 

brihard

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OceanBonfire said:
I have full respect to the men and women in uniform, but with this I've completely lost respect to that organization.

Let me explain.

One of my best friends since childhood applied a while ago. He's a visible minority, has a B.Sc. in Computer Science (and he wanted to go into cybercrime investigation), a fitness freak, no financial issue, and not a single criminal record. Everything they seek. In short, the whole application/recruiting process went smooth and he never lost any motivation from beginning to the end. Finally, they chose not to hire him. He was disappointed while I was mad angry.

When they decided to lower their standards by accepting permanent residents, I got mad, again. And now this?!

While this was a singular experience, I think the issue isn't with the hiring/recruiting process but rather an internal one with those who make the decisions of who gets hired.

Did your friend show you his deferral letter? Stories like what you just told aren’t rare. However there is often more to the story than the person writing their friend’s story is aware of. Usually something has been left out what such a seemingly poor choice has been made.
 

OceanBonfire

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Brihard said:
Did your friend show you his deferral letter? Stories like what you just told aren’t rare. However there is often more to the story than the person writing their friend’s story is aware of. Usually something has been left out what such a seemingly poor choice has been made.

No deferral; he was just not chosen after completing the polygraph test. I knew my story sounded like the typical "my friend" stories but I chose to at least give a personal background as to why I've lost respect to the RCMP that keeps lowering the standards.
 

yoman

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The RCMP is slowly trying to change for the better but as Brihard said, we are operational 99% of the time so it isn’t easy to send people away on long career courses. The recent introduction of the NCO Development Courses is a step in the right direction.

The RCMP doesn’t use the word “leadership” much if at all when referring to the upper ranks. The common word used is “manager”. I find this part of my transition from the military to RCMP to be one of the most frustrating aspects of my change of career.

Recruiting is a big issue with the RCMP. As has been mentioned, we are underpaid/compensated when compared to most other police forces. The other issue is that we are expected to go to less desirable postings with almost no financial or other incentive (save for Fort McMurray but that’s a different beast). Finally, in a lot of posts we are severely under resourced which can cause burnout amongst members. This isn’t necessarily all the RCMP’s fault as the municipalities and provinces pay for the positions that they want. Not being able to recruit and train enough members is the RCMP fault.

The above mentioned article is more or less a consultants report written to give our brass a different perspective on things.  Nothing has been changed nor have any changes been announced. Do I expect to see changes in the next little while? Yes, but probably (hopefully) not everything that has been mentioned in the CBC article.

Do I regret leaving the military for the RCMP? Not at all. Are things perfect? Definitely not but no employer is perfect. I’ve personally been treated pretty well by the RCMP thus far.


 

brihard

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yoman said:
The RCMP is slowly trying to change for the better but as Brihard said, we are operational 99% of the time so it isn’t easy to send people away on long career courses. The recent introduction of the NCO Development Courses is a step in the right direction.

The RCMP doesn’t use the word “leadership” much if at all when referring to the upper ranks. The common word used is “manager”. I find this part of my transition from the military to RCMP to be one of the most frustrating aspects of my change of career.

Recruiting is a big issue with the RCMP. As has been mentioned, we are underpaid/compensated when compared to most other police forces. The other issue is that we are expected to go to less desirable postings with almost no financial or other incentive (save for Fort McMurray but that’s a different beast). Finally, in a lot of posts we are severely under resourced which can cause burnout amongst members. This isn’t necessarily all the RCMP’s fault as the municipalities and provinces pay for the positions that they want. Not being able to recruit and train enough members is the RCMP fault.

The above mentioned article is more or less a consultants report written to give our brass a different perspective on things.  Nothing has been changed nor have any changes been announced. Do I expect to see changes in the next little while? Yes, but probably (hopefully) not everything that has been mentioned in the CBC article.

Do I regret leaving the military for the RCMP? Not at all. Are things perfect? Definitely not but no employer is perfect. I’ve personally been treated pretty well by the RCMP thus far.

By “NCO courses” are you referring to something distinct from SDP/MDP?
 

Haggis

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The lack of formal leadership training is common throughout all federal law enforcement agencies, save for the MP who follow the CAF NCMPD education stream. Aside from the offerings available through the Canadian School of the Public Service (CSPS) my agency has absolutely no leadership training for front-line supervisors.  You learn to "lead" by osmosis, good or bad.

A quick look at the curriculum for the Canadian Police College shows that only two leadership courses are offered.  The course descriptions for both offerings focus on management over leadership and both are focused on senior management (i.e. Sgt and up) not offered to front-line junior supervisors.
 
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