Minister Hogan Launches Policing Transformation Initiative

by ahnationtalk on November 20, 202361 Views

November 20, 2023

The Honourable John Hogan, KC, Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General, today announced the creation of the Policing Transformation Working Group that will help shape the future of policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Policing Transformation Working Group is mandated to evaluate the current provincial policing model, conduct public engagement, and provide ongoing advice to ensure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians receive the most effective and efficient policing services possible. It will consider best practices in other jurisdictions and the community safety needs of all people and groups who reside here, including urban, rural, Labrador, racialized and Indigenous communities.

Led by an executive with broad senior-level government experience, this multi-year initiative features a team of individuals with extensive operational and strategic expertise in police services. For more information on the objectives of the Working Group and member biographies, please refer to the terms of reference in the backgrounder.

Delivering policing services that maintain public safety and meet societal expectations is becoming increasingly complex. Examples of emerging provincial policing trends and topics informing the scope and timing of this initiative include:

  • Evolving profile of crime;
  • Oversight and accountability;
  • Technological advancements;
  • Delivery of services to rural and remote communities; and
  • Recruitment, training and retention.

On a national scale, reports published in the last five years, such as the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission report and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report, have both called for government to rethink the delivery of policing services. Efforts to modernize the policing system works to ensure it protects the people of the province, and also supports health and well-being.

While provincial police services operate independently from the Provincial Government, the Minister of Justice and Public Safety maintains responsibility and authority for the administration of justice within the province. This includes the administration and provision of policing services under the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Act, 1992, and the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA) for the RCMP, which expires in 2032. Budget 2023 contains over $154 million for policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Quotes

“In light of the evolving dialogue about policing here and throughout the country, now is the time to evaluate and inform the province’s current policing model. Our government is taking action to transform the future of policing so we are well-positioned to continue enhancing and ensuring public safety in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Honourable John Hogan, KC
Minister of Justice and Public Safety

“The highest priority for the RCMP and our dedicated and skilled employees who work throughout this province is to ensure public safety for the people and communities of Newfoundland and Labrador. We welcome and fully support a policing review and look forward to being actively engaged throughout the process as we work toward our shared goal of a sustainable and modernized policing model.”
Chief Superintendent Pat Cahill
Royal Canadian Mounted Police

“This is welcomed news. This review will help shape the future of policing in the province and ultimately lead to improved services for all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. I look forward to participating in the process and am eager to see what the Policing Transformation Working Group will recommend.”
Chief Patrick Roche
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary

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BACKGROUNDER

Policing Transformation Working Group Terms of Reference and Member Biographies

Overview
The Policing Transformation Working Group (“The Working Group”) will conduct a review of the provision of policing services in the province. The overall objective of the review is to evaluate Newfoundland and Labrador’s current policing model, meaningfully engage with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about policing services and community safety, and to advise on policing models to ensure that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians receive the most effective and efficient policing services possible.

Specifically, the Working Group will:

  • Work closely with the 10-person policing and crime prevention team within the Department of Justice and Public Safety to analyze the current state of policing in the Province;
  • Consult with the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Policing to consider opportunities for improvements to the current policing service delivery model; and
  • Recommend short and long term steps to transition from the current police service delivery model to any proposed alternatives.

The Working Group will consider best practices in other jurisdictions and the community safety needs of the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, including urban, rural, Labrador, and racialized and Indigenous communities.

Background
The Minister of Justice and Public Safety is responsible for the administration of justice in the province, including the administration of policing services. Policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador are provided by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The RNC provides frontline policing services to 18 per cent of the geography of the Province and 44 per cent of the province’s population, and has detachments located in the Northeast Avalon, Corner Brook, Labrador City and Churchill Falls. The RCMP provides frontline to 82 per cent of the geography of the province and 56 per cent of the province’s population in 42 detachments. RCMP provincial policing services are provided under the authority of two agreements – the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA) and the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program. The current PPSA came into effect in 2012 and expires in 2032.

Policing and crime prevention are growing areas of concern for the public and significant changes have been proposed for policing in this province and across the country. Areas of concern include crime rates, police oversight, the growing cost of policing, training, recruitment and retention, the role of technology, legislative and other accountability frameworks, and service delivery models. The Federal Government is also currently reviewing RCMP contract policing services in advance of the upcoming 2032 expiration of the PPSA.

The delivery of policing services has a direct impact on the communities within Newfoundland and Labrador. In light of the evolving dialogue about policing throughout Canada, the Working Group will seek opportunities to enhance policing services delivery and ensure the safety of the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mandate
The mandate of the Working Group is to provide advice and recommendations reflecting the diverse communities of Newfoundland and Labrador as it relates to the delivery of policing services in the province. The Working Group will also lead and oversee the implementation of any approved recommendations put forward.

Scope
The Working Group is responsible for working with the 10-person policing and crime prevention team within the Department of Justice and Public Safety to review the provision of policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Working Group will propose options that address the policing and community safety requirements of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

The Working Group will consider the following:

  • Findings and recommendations from analogous policing reviews within the province, across the country, and in other comparable jurisdictions;
  • Alternative service delivery models and their effectiveness;
  • Cost and financial data;
  • Contractual impacts of any advice proposed;
  • Public Safety Canada’s review of contract-policing services provided by the RCMP;
  • Relationship between police and the diverse communities of the province;
  • Role of police in addressing gender-based and intimate partner violence;
  • Role of police in community safety and well-being;
  • Emergency calls for service response responsibilities and resourcing;
  • Diversity and inclusion within policing services;
  • Police oversight and accountability mechanisms;
  • Legislative requirements and policing standards to support any recommendations;
  • Training and education of law enforcement officers;
  • Effective recruitment and retention models;
  • Police crime rates, clearance rates, calls-for-service data and response times;
  • Infrastructure such as detachments and training facilities;
  • Administrative and managerial requirements to support the recommended model(s);
  • Equipment and fleet requirements;
  • Police resource and workload data;
  • Data collection and evidence-based decision making;
  • Records management and other IT systems;
  • Technology advancements and opportunities; and
  • Demographics within Newfoundland and Labrador.

Working Group Tasks
The Working Group will prepare a project plan to outline the review tasks and timelines. The Working Group will develop a project plan, verify scope, goals and objectives, develop methodology and identify internal and external stakeholders.

The Working Group tasks will include the following:

  • Completion of  a comprehensive jurisdictional scan of related reviews across Canada and other comparable jurisdictions, inclusive of a categorized database of findings or recommendations potentially relevant to improving policing and community safety in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • The collection of information, opinions, and perspectives on policing in Newfoundland and Labrador from numerous stakeholders including the public, subject matter experts, existing policing services, other governmental departments, community groups, and Indigenous Governments and Organizations. These perspectives will be gathered through public engagement and regular meetings with the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Policing. The Working Group will also work collaboratively with the Department of Justice and Public Safety’s 10-person policing and crime prevention team to complete their work.
  • The provision of regular updates to the Minister and/or Deputy Minister of Justice and Public Safety detailing key findings and advice. Advice and recommendations will occur on an ad-hoc basis and will result in short and long term actions required to transition from Newfoundland and Labrador’s current policing service delivery model to any proposed alternatives. Any advice will include estimated costs, implementation plans and timelines.

Working Group Membership
The Working Group will be comprised of the following individuals:

  • Executive Lead: Andrea McKenna
  • Project Manager: Kim Harding
  • Working Group Member: Pete McKay
  • Working Group Member: Andrew Warren

The Working Group will report to the Deputy Minister of Justice and Public Safety, or designate.

Support
Support throughout the review will be provided by the policing and crime prevention team in the Department of Justice and Public Safety.

Working Group Member Biographies

Andrea McKenna – Executive Lead
With nearly two decades of senior level public administration experience, Andrea McKenna is the Executive Lead of the Policing Transformation Working Group.

She has held a wide array of executive positions in a variety of departments with both the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Ireland.

Ms. McKenna holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Memorial University, as well as a Master of Business Studies from the University College Dublin.

Kim Harding – Project Manager
For over 30 years, Kim Harding has held numerous progressively responsible leadership positions with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC).

Ms. Harding brings extensive knowledge and understanding about policing methodologies, work procedures and administration within the policing environment. She has represented the RNC on a variety of national committees and working groups, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Canadian Center of Justice Statistics.

Ms. Harding is a graduate of Memorial University Business Administration.

Peter McKay – Working Group Member
Peter McKay is a 31-year member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, serving general duty and administrative posts in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Throughout his policing career, Mr. McKay held a variety of key roles and responsibilities, including as Chief Reviewer for Criminal Operations, Non-Commissioned Officer for the Operations Strategy Branch, Senior Criminal Operations Reviewer, and Detachment Commander. Most recently, he served on Workplace Review of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary by Harriet Lewis.

A recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the RCMP long service medal, Mr. McKay retired from active duty in 2019.

Andrew Warren – Working Group Member
Andrew Warren brings extensive experience in rural and urban policing environments throughout Newfoundland and Labrador with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.

Appointed to the rank of Inspector in 2020, Mr. Warren is familiar with the existing complaint oversight mechanisms and understands the importance of accountability in policing. Throughout his policing tenure, he has served in numerous leadership roles such as Public Order Unit Commander, Honour Guard Commander, and Drug Recognition Evaluator Instructor.

Mr. Warren has a Bachelor of Arts and a Police Studies certificate from Memorial University.

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