RCMP not fully prepared for active shooters five years after Moncton: auditor

In June 2014 a heavily armed assailant killed three Mounties and wounded two others

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. The RCMP isn’t sure that all its officers have access to the rifles and body armour needed to respond to an active shooter, almost five years after three Mounties were gunned down in New Brunswick, Canada’s auditor general has found. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The RCMP isn’t sure that all its officers have access to the rifles and body armour they need to respond to an active shooter, almost five years after three Mounties were gunned down in New Brunswick, Canada’s auditor general has found.

In a report released Tuesday, interim auditor Sylvain Ricard said the national police force has mismanaged the purchase, distribution and ongoing maintenance of semi-automatic rifles known as carbines.

In June 2014, a heavily armed assailant in Moncton, N.B., killed three Mounties and wounded two others. The RCMP had about 1,500 high-powered carbines nationwide at the time but officers in the Moncton detachment had not been trained to use them.

The RCMP was convicted under the Canada Labour Code in 2017 of having failed to provide members with the training and equipment to deal with an attack that left the community reeling.

The police force subsequently bought thousands of carbines but did not know whether it had provided the rifles to all of the officers who needed them, the auditor general said.

The auditor also discovered the RCMP had enough hard body armour across the country but not all officers had access to the equipment, which protects officers’ vital organs from bullets.

READ MORE: RCMP fined $550,000 in wake of fatal Moncton shooting rampage

“Overall, we found that not all RCMP officers had access to the equipment they needed to respond to an active-shooter situation,” the report said.

The RCMP agreed with the auditor’s various recommendations and outlined plans to remedy the failings, including progress to date.

The police force realized in 2011 that its officers lacked the firearms they needed to respond effectively to criminals armed with deadly weapons. The Mounties bought 527 carbines in 2012 and, as of last October, had 6,211 of the short-barrelled rifles in service.

In 2014, the force committed to providing the rifles to officers who might be at risk. However, the auditor found the RCMP did not consistently define who those officers were across its divisions. It also had no national standard for the number of carbines needed to equip its officers.

Some detachments did not have enough carbines, which meant there were no spares for when the guns were being serviced.

In addition, there were discrepancies between the RCMP’s data and the number of carbines in various detachments. “So, RCMP National Headquarters did not have a full picture of the actual location of the carbines within the divisions,” the audit report says. “The RCMP could not confirm that officers who needed the equipment had access to it.”

The Mounties say they have introduced electronic, interactive maps to track the whereabouts of carbines and the officers trained to use them.

Distribution of carbines is based on “an ongoing, evergreen risk assessment,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference. “If we are going to have a successful police force, the officers themselves need to be safe and secure and in a position to do their job.”

The auditor also found:

— The RCMP did not have a plan to manage the acquisition of carbines, causing bottlenecks in distribution and backlogs in recertifying members on how to use them as well as for maintenance of the guns;

— The police force met its target for the initial training of front-line officers on carbines, but 13 per cent of those officers had not completed annual recertification training;

— Half the force’s carbines had not been maintained according to RCMP policy;

— Deficiencies with pistol maintenance and mandatory recertification training.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

Victoria police seek suspect in parkade break and enter

Cycling gear, tools reported stolen from vehicle, storage locker

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read