BC Civil Liberties Association: Much needed systemic change within RCMP necessary

THE BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), reacting to the report of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP on workplace harassment in the force, noted on Monday that the association has long worked in the area of police accountability and has called for systemic reform within the RCMP for many years.

Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA, said in a statement: “This report is a stinging indictment of the RCMP’s ability and willingness to protect its own members. For years, a multitude of recommendations to fix the terrible problem of workplace harassment have been virtually ignored. Workplace bullying and harassment remain persistent problems in the RCMP. The RCMP’s limited efforts to deal with the problem so far have not been good enough. So many members of the RCMP, who just wanted to serve the public, have suffered – some very deeply – and it is long past time for comprehensive action to get at the very roots of this sickness.

“When the RCMP is unwilling or unable to act effectively to change its dysfunctional culture to protect its own members, how can the public have confidence that they can make the changes required to protect the public? These issues of harassment can translate directly into worse service for the public, and a reduction in public safety.

“Groups in civil society have long been calling for a wholesale transformation of the RCMP, to root out a dangerous and antiquated culture that harms police officers and harms the public. The governance reforms proposed by the Commission merit the most serious consideration by the federal government.

“The Commission has done an excellent job in taking on this very serious and sensitive subject, and we look forward to them continuing to pursue much needed systemic change within the force.”