RCMP ‘no bias’ training and policies insufficient, watchdog says

The RCMP have training and policies in place to rid their ranks of racism and other forms of bias – but until they start tracking the allegations, they won’t know if the plan is actually working, according to a new report from the National Police’s civilian watchdog.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) conducted a review of what the RCMP calls its “non-biased policing model,” a training model intended to ensure fair service delivery.

“The RCMP’s national policing policy is inadequate, insufficient and unclear,” reads the report released Wednesday.

“When police actions are seen as unfair or biased, the legitimacy of law enforcement suffers.”

RCMP policy states that employees must not engage in racial profiling. It’s a “laudable” goal, but “too narrow,” the CRCC said.

“Profiling based on religion, ethnicity or other prohibited grounds is equally harmful and should be avoided,” the CRCC wrote. “It should be clearly marked.”

The RCMP says it allows officers to rely on “relevant information” in a criminal investigation. This phrase should be explained and expanded in RCMP policy to exclude bias, the CRCC wrote.

The RCMP’s public complaints system and internal code of conduct does not have a category to cover allegations of bias. Allegations of discrimination, for example, could be grouped into categories covering “the act[ing] with integrity, fairness and impartiality” or “dishonorable conduct”.

The commission said that without proper accounting, it is unable to determine whether any constables face allegations of bias.

“The lack of systematic follow-up tests the RCMP’s ability to fully understand the depth and scale of the problem,” the report said.

In recent years, the RCMP has been forced to deal with allegations of systemic racism within the institution.

The CRCC made 13 recommendations in all. Among other things, he calls on the RCMP to change the language of the policy and to provide non-partisan police training on a recurring basis.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said she agrees with all of the CCRC’s findings and plans to implement all of its recommendations.

“The RCMP is dedicated to addressing systemic discrimination, biased policing and inequality on all fronts,” she wrote in her response to the watchdog’s report.