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Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security



Thursday, February 7, 2013

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



    I'll call this meeting to order. Good morning everyone.
    This is meeting number 69 of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Thursday, February 7, 2013.
    This morning we're going to continue in our study of the economics of policing in Canada. We're very pleased this morning to have, in our first hour, the deputy commissioner of federal policing, Mike Cabana. He's with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Welcome. He is accompanied by Superintendent Angela Workman-Stark, director of federal policing re-engineering. Our committee wants to thank you for appearing.
    I came in at about 8:15 or 8:10, and they were here. They were at their post and they were ready to go, so we thank you for that.
    If you have an opening statement, we look forward to hearing it. Then we will go into the first round of questioning.


    Honourable members of the committee, good morning.
    First, allow me to thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to speak about the RCMP's Federal Policing program. I would also like to introduce Dr. Angela Workman-Stark, who is responsible for the team that manages and coordinates the re-engineering of federal programs.
    I would like to begin by introducing you to the Federal Policing program and its mandate.
    Federal Policing is a core activity of the RCMP and is carried out in every province and territory in Canada as well as various international locations. The RCMP's mandate under Federal Policing is to investigate criminal activity linked to national security, organized crime and economic integrity, develop and share criminal intelligence, enforce federal statutes, conduct international capacity building, liaison and peacekeeping. It must also ensure the safety of state officials, dignitaries, foreign missions, Canadian aircraft, and the safety of major events.


    Practically, that means we are responsible for preventing and tackling a very wide swath of serious criminality that impacts the core of Canada's national interests.
     Our mandate stretches from investigating extraterritorial acts of corruption by Canadian business further to the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, to, through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, shutting down more than 100,000 e-mail accounts annually that are suspected of mass marketing fraud, to interdicting transnational drug shipments, to working with young people nationwide to reduce their involvement as victims or as offenders in federal crimes involving drugs, terrorism, and street gangs, to disrupting a major organized crime group in conjunction with partners, as we did just this past weekend at a Super Bowl party north of Toronto.
    Over the past several years the complexity of federal policing operations has increased. Threats are increasingly transnational and multi-dimensional. Technology and globalization, which have empowered so many of us, have also empowered criminals.
     Criminal investigations can no longer be limited to Canada's borders, bringing a whole new series of challenges when conducting operations abroad. These include considerations for human rights, local corruption, information sharing, different legal standards, training standards, investigative practices, technology issues, and of course, organizational policies. Overseas it is harder to know whom to work with, whom to trust, and how to build relationships that create the right conditions for effective operational outcomes.
     Other factors that contribute to the complexity of federal investigations include ever-tightening evidentiary standards and ever-increasing police oversight and accountability. We constantly strive to meet public expectations and build on our experiences, which is no small feat in a world that is changing as fast as ours is.
     One small example is that 15 years ago an authorization to intercept a target's private communications would have normally involved a phone number or two and maybe an e-mail account. Today, a single target generally has multiple phones, multiple e-mail accounts, and portable devices, some of which involve challenging public encryption.
    The growth of the volume of data in any given investigation is simply staggering. A recent investigation involved the interception of 350,000 telephone conversations and nearly one million text messages. The time required to compile, analyze, and present this as evidence in a clear and compelling manner is understandably quite considerable. At any one point, the RCMP is conducting several complex criminal investigations of this nature.
     The average cost of each is hard to assess, as each is quite different. We are putting mechanisms in place to better tie projects to outcomes and costs, and it will be interesting, in a year or so, to be able to assess what that data tells us.


    Notionally, however, we recognize that the range of efforts and cost is substantial, from a small project team of two or three individuals in project Opapa, which broke up an organized human trafficking ring in Hamilton in 2010, to a large project, like project Colisee or project OSage, which involved dozens of investigators for long periods of time and resulted in many arrests.
    At the larger end of the scale, it would be safe to state that our major projects are generally multi-million-dollar initiatives, and we recognize that we need to ensure that they deliver on the investment we make in them.
    We have long recognized that the high costs of major projects means they cannot be our only approach to tackling criminality. We must continue and are continuing to pursue innovative ways to address the threat environment, like improving integration, tackling threats at their source, and expanding information sharing. We have taken some solid steps in these areas and we can build on these successes. For example, CIROC, the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime, is a joint initiative of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada. It is beginning to achieve the long hoped for goal of true operational coordination between local, municipal, and federal enforcement agencies. I believe its recent work in tackling a couple of very specific threats demonstrates efficient and effective cooperation and real progress towards real integration.
    Similarly, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit operation on Sunday night in Toronto, which I mentioned a few minutes ago, also demonstrates the reality and strength of working together. CFSEU is a true eight-agency collaboration bringing together multiple organizations to tackle a persistent threat.
    Another example is that we, along with partners, have deployed resources internationally to work with foreign partners in detecting and preventing illegal migrant vessels from embarking on the dangerous journey towards Canadian shores. Their efforts have disrupted multiple ventures, likely saving lives, and have prevented the need for costly domestic investigations.


    One last example: in 2012, we concluded an agreement with police in India to facilitate creative information-sharing about the shipment of synthetic drug precursor chemicals. This framework—which respects Canadian human rights—continues to shrink the number of borders that criminals can exploit to avoid detection and prosecution by authorities.
    I would like to conclude my remarks by briefly outlining perhaps the signature change ongoing in Federal Policing right now, namely: Federal Policing Re-Engineering .



    The purpose of re-engineering is to find effective ways of delivering our diverse mandate by building an agile and integrated federal policing program capable of efficiently and effectively addressing operational priorities.
    That means moving from commodity-based silos of work to areas of functional expertise by executing six key activities: responding to calls for service, which includes minor investigations; running and supporting major projects; identifying emerging threats through intelligence; establishing and leveraging partnerships; building awareness and preventing crime; and, of course, protecting people, places, and assets.
    This change will enable greater coordination of national priority investigations, stronger consistency in governance and oversight, better prioritization of activities and resources, more rigorous performance measurement, and a stronger commitment to the primacy of operations, which simply represents the philosophy that results matter.
     We recognize the scale of this reform effort and, as we implement it, we will continue to evaluate ourselves and consult with our partners at the local, provincial, and national levels both in law enforcement and in government, to ensure we remain on track.
    Of course, there is more work to be done. We will continue to explore new ways to bring criminals to justice, to deny them their means and methods, and to disrupt their operations, using all the tools at our disposal. We are committed to maintaining a streamlined and integrated federal policing service that conducts focused and effective investigations.
    This concludes my opening remarks. I would be more than happy to entertain any questions you may have.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll move quickly into that first round of questioning. For seven minutes, Mr. Leef, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to both our guests for appearing here today.
    I have a quick question. In one of your bullets, you commented that Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, is “beginning to achieve the long hoped for goal of true operational coordination...”. Then toward the end of that remark, you said, “...towards real integration.”
    There are some key points in that. Could I get you to expand on where we were in the past and what would lead to that remark about true operational coordination? What does that means to you? What might that mean in terms of delivering greater efficiency and economy to policing services?
    Thank you very much for your question. I'm glad to have the opportunity to speak about what CIROC does.
    Historically, law enforcement agencies across the country have expended significant effort to ensure a certain level of coordination, to avoid duplication of efforts, and to try to work closer together.
     The creation of CIROC goes back, I believe, to 2007. The goal of creating this committee was to provide a forum where law enforcement agencies, rather than speak of simply cooperation and assistance, would have the ability to share real-time intelligence, to work and prioritize their work based on a single threat assessment, and to enter into discussions with respect to the highest level national threats to ensure that those threats were not allowed to continue unchecked. The goal and the discussion is to make sure there is a law enforcement agency that has authority, that has a responsibility to expend some effort to disrupt and interdict the threat in question.
    Over the course of a number of years, the work of CIROC evolved to the point where we now have a single threat assessment, but the discussion has evolved to the point where agencies are actually working together to disrupt these threats. Whether they are local in nature, whether they are interprovincial or international, what we've seen by sharing the information to the level we're sharing it now is that even those local threats do have, at the very least, an interprovincial linkage.
    I'll give you an example. We have an ongoing project, currently, that involves 28 different police services and 56 different investigations that are being coordinated through CIROC. Already the results are unprecedented.


    Great. That expands on what you were talking about. Now it's seeing true operational coordination. I would gather that in the past it wasn't always as perfect or as positive as we would have liked. Would that be accurate?
    That would be very accurate.
    You spoke about putting mechanisms in place to better tie projects to outcome and cost. Are you at liberty to talk about a couple of these mechanisms?
    Absolutely. Our ability to measure outcome, our return on an investment, has always been a challenge for law enforcement agencies. The type of work that we get involved in is sometimes very hard to account for. There's significant work within the context of the re-engineering initiative that we now have to be able to not only focus our work but to develop a very concrete prioritization matrix, to make sure that we prioritize our files properly, but also to be able to measure the outcome of the different files. This is very much a work in process. It will look at a number of different components. Of course, you have the cost of the investigation, the number of arrests as well, the outcome of the court case, but also the changes and the impact that it's having on the national threat assessment. We're focusing on trying to be able to measure the level of disruption that has been created on each given organization based on the file.
     Angela Workman-Stark is managing a lot of that work.
     I don't know if she wants to add to this.
     I think you've heard from prior witnesses that certainly the whole area of performance measurement around the policing world is not really well developed. In terms of moving forward, what we're really trying to look at is how we move toward measuring and assessing the outcomes of law enforcement activities, rather than, say, a number of arrests, a number of disruptions. How do we really start to understand the impact on harm and reducing harm? That's an ongoing dialogue that's been happening for quite some time. That's the direction we're taking.
    I have just enough time for one quick question.
    We heard from the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police on this recurring theme of front-line policing being the agency of preferred choice and the agency of first choice.
    On the federal side, are there activities that federal policing will get drawn into that really don't belong there and that could be eliminated from the federal policing side? Front-line police will say, for example, that they've become the social workers and mental health care workers. They're the catch-all for everything in the community. Does that translate upward into federal policing? Are there things that you could eliminate where you've become the agency of preferred choice?
    Where we could become the agency of preferred choice?
    Where you could move away from being that.
    Part of the concept of re-engineering is to make sure that we are working on the highest possible threats to Canadians. This is part of the dialogue and the discussions that we've had during the initiative. For us to say that we will move away from being involved in certain areas of criminality, we see that actually as fairly high risk because potentially it will create a gap that the criminals are going to be able to exploit.
    Rather than doing that, what we're looking at is that we will not stop any activities. We will prioritize it properly to make sure that we're attacking the organization. We're no longer focusing on commodities; we're focusing on the organizations. The most important part of this is to make sure that the level of coordination with the contract or uniform front-line officers is enhanced significantly to avoid this duplication, to avoid creating the gap, and to make sure that we have a good understanding of the impact of our actions.


    Thank you very much.
    We'll move to Mr. Garrison, please, for seven minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair. To the witnesses, good morning and thank you for being here.
    Mr. Leef took my first question this morning, so I want to move on to two other things. One of those is a general question and one is a much more specific question. The first of those is in the area of national security.
    Since most of national security issues are potentially included within the Criminal Code, there's been some concern expressed about potential overlap between RCMP responsibilities and CSIS. Where is the line between the responsibilities of those two, and how are you managing that potential overlap?
    From our perspective the line is actually very clear and very well defined. The RCMP's involvement in the national security arena goes back many, many decades and actually predates the creation of CSIS.
    Our role, our mandate, is clear. It deals with criminal activity of a national security nature. The role of CSIS is to develop intelligence to identify potential national security threats and to inform the Government of Canada of those emerging threats. We have very different mandates. Ours is investigative in the sense of criminal prosecutions and interdiction. CSIS's role is with respect to intelligence and informing, but I'd suggest that they're actually quite complementary to one another.
     I don't think it's any secret to anybody that there have been some growing pains in terms of the relationship between CSIS and the RCMP. National security from the RCMP's perspective is part of my umbrella, and I would say the relationship now is better than ever. We have strong mechanisms, deconfliction mechanisms, in place to make sure that each agency is aware of the work of the other, and to ensure that we do not duplicate our work and that the priorities are shared.
    You understand the concern, in that when you talk about interdiction, that leads you to the forward-looking aspects of national security where CSIS is supposedly already working. Is there any clear line that could be drawn between internal activities in Canada's national security and the international aspects of CSIS, or do you see those as having no line between them now?
    I think it would be dangerous to draw a line between the two. There are criminal activities of a national security nature that occur internationally that have a direct impact on Canada. The RCMP is a lead agency, along with other federal agencies, so I guess one misconception that I think we need to dispel is that CSIS and the RCMP are the only two agencies that have a role to play in the national security arena. There are many federal agencies that bring their efforts and capacity to bear.
    But no, I don't think I would define it with international or domestic; the line is truly blurred.
    You mentioned the idea of a lead agency. Has there really been a clear designation of a lead agency in coordinating the efforts in national security?
    There has been with respect to criminal prosecution, criminal investigation. Where it sometimes gets a little bit tricky, for lack of a better term, is at what stage a given issue will transit from a CSIS responsibility to an RCMP responsibility. As I said, there are mechanisms in place to ensure that this transition occurs, and that the transition occurs at the earliest possible time.
     Every case is different and every case has to be assessed on its own merit. To be able to say that there's a clear demarcation and that it's assessed case by case.... This is why we've put committees in place, to be able to make these assessments and come to a determination of which agency should be leading at which stage.


    My understanding, then, is you have committees working at a kind of case level, but is there a committee working over all levels on the coordination?
    There are a number of committees. You're right, in that there's a committee that's working at the case level. There is also an executive level committee where senior executives of both agencies meet on a regular basis to discuss the metrics that are being used, or the level of cooperation, to identify potential requirements for change.
    Of course, there are personal relationships that factor in. I regularly have contact with my colleagues at CSIS where we have discussions over how we can make things better.
    Thank you.
    I'm going to turn to the area of fraud, commercial and business fraud, because often we tend to focus on the criminal aspects involving street crime, violence, and community safety. There's lots of harm done in the community. It's very significant, I think, in the commercial crime and fraud areas, and particularly with fraud involving seniors and those kinds of things.
     I'm assuming that this falls clearly in your mandate. I wonder if you have any general comments on the challenges of trying to deal with commercial fraud.
     That's an excellent question. That particular issue ties in directly with the discussion around the economics of policing.
    The complexity and the level of fraud has increased significantly in Canada over the years, which has a direct impact on our bottom line. The more resources that we have to attach to a file, the more expensive it gets, and the fewer number of files we can do.
     I think we need to bring this back to the prioritization matrix we're developing currently. We're no longer looking at fraud. We're looking at counterfeiting and narcotics. We're looking at the organizations. Those criminal organizations are multi-commodity. Frankly, they're involved in anything to make a buck. The prioritization matrix will identify the highest organizations, but we'll also look at the activities they're involved in.
    As we move forward with this new model, I anticipate we'll be involved in even more fraud investigations than we are currently.
    Thank you very much.
    We'll move to Ms. Bergen, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, both, for being here.
    Deputy Commissioner, we're doing this study on the economics of policing with a view to looking at how to improve efficiencies and to see if, at the federal level, we can provide models for provinces and municipalities to work together to reduce costs.
    Given the complexity of investigations, given the fact that even at the local level police are asked to do so much, is this a realistic goal? Can we reduce the cost of policing without reducing the number of front-line officers still delivering the services, still doing the excellent work that Canadian police are known throughout the world to do? Is this doable?
    Absolutely, there is no doubt in my mind that this is doable.
    I keep going back to re-engineering, and you'll please forgive me, but this is our flagship and we're quite interested in seeing where it will take us. Re-engineering did not start from the requirement for cost savings. Re-engineering predates this. We've been working at this for a number of years.
    The current economic situation has forced us to take probably a more aggressive stance on how we would re-engineer and it has forced us to have a look at some of our processes. We've found significant room for savings in some of the areas.
    For example, we're in the process of civilianizing a significant number of positions at headquarters. We've identified a lot of redundancy that existed in our processes. We're eliminating that. The whole construct of our national headquarters and how it operates is completely changing and we started standing it up last Friday, if I remember correctly. Just in the headquarters piece alone, we were able to reduce the federal footprint in our headquarters by approximately 100 regular members.
    I think the economics of policing should be looked at as an amazing opportunity for law enforcement agencies to be innovative and to think outside the proverbial box on how they do business.
    I know from speaking to my colleagues at the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police that's very much the discussion and those are very much the optics through which economics of policing are being looked at.


    That's good to hear because I think we all recognize the challenges are greater. At the beginning of your comments you even referred to the greater need and that there is more accountability, many more eyes are on you, and so much more is required.
    I wonder about your thoughts on the issue of more local policing. We've heard from different witnesses about local police, city police, who are obviously dealing with major crimes, but also some of those smaller crimes that are issues that come out of mental illness and addiction. We've heard about some good programs, good models, that are in place to deal with that.
    I know there is not a lot of research right now, and that's where we find a gap. Where would it be better for police to focus? Would it be dealing with some of the smaller problems, like the broken window syndrome, except that now we're talking about policing as opposed to fighting crime and reducing the cost, or is the technology changing, as you referred to?
     You're doing so much more work internationally. Where do you think the greater focus should be: at the local level, reducing costs and making sure it's more efficient, or keep investing heavily and finding ways at the federal level to be more efficient?
    That's an interesting question. I would suggest that it's not so much in terms of which area should be favoured, but rather maintaining or attaining the right balance between the international, the major cases, and the local level.
    As I alluded to earlier, through CIROC, one of the realizations was that the local level crime, what you referred to, I believe, as a smaller kind of crime, has a direct link to some of the bigger organizations operating and affecting our society. At times, I would agree that, yes, this is where the investment should be made, but it has to be done in a coordinated fashion. It's all about trying to identify, and being successful at identifying, the weakest point of a criminal organization. If it starts at the front line, then that's where we should be concentrating.
    I would suggest that in the process, we need to make sure we maintain a certain balance.
    It was interesting when you talked a little bit about the change in not focusing on commodities. I was going to ask you what you meant by that, and then you did provide some explanation. Is that a principle? I guess you'll see if that works. Is that something that could be passed on even at the local level, or is the reverse maybe better at the local level, when they're focusing more on commodities?
    I think the approach on that, and it touched a little bit on your prior question, really is, again, moving away from commodities, whether it's drugs, counterfeit goods, or intellectual property type issues. It is really taking a broader view of the actual threat. What is that threat? What is that threat engaged in? By looking at that aspect instead of a much narrower view, that's where we're going to have greater effectiveness. Those have been some of the challenges in the past. Without having that opportunity of looking more horizontally, we've missed opportunities and probably haven't been as effective as we could have been. I think that's more the approach.
    If I could add onto your prior question, I really think of this as a golden opportunity for an all-hands-on-deck approach to look at the problem and embrace academia in that dialogue about where law enforcement is most effective, what type of impact we're having in reducing the harm, and determining where the role of the different agencies is in that, because it is a whole of government approach at this point in time.


    Thank you very much.
    We'll now move over to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please.
    Thank you for being here. Your presentation has been very interesting.
    Mr. Leef took Mr. Garrison's question, and Mr. Garrison took my question.
     It's a very interesting issue that we're looking at here. It seems that there's probably going to be a shift within, say the RCMP, towards maybe hiring officers, towards hiring a greater proportion of civilians. Is that what you envision for the future? It sounds to me, with the growing complexity of crime, you need more people to coordinate, more analysts, more technical experts, and so on. I would think that if you look at the staffing numbers over time that you'd have a growth in the proportion of civilians versus the proportion of traditionally trained police officers. Would you agree with that?
    I'd say it's a pretty accurate representation. I do anticipate that the percentage of the different categories of employee will change over time. We're already seeing it in the re-engineering. It's about having the right person with the right expertise doing the right things. We also need to factor in the abilities of some of our partner agencies, whether law enforcement or otherwise, to make sure we eliminate any kind of duplication or overlap and we have better coordination.
    Will this save money in and of itself? Are the salaries of civilian RCMP employees lower than the salaries of traditional police officers? Are you expecting to get a cost saving through that shift of emphasis over to having more civilians?
     Notionally, I believe there would be cost savings associated with that exercise, but the goal of what we're doing now was not economic, actually, when we started. It was not economically driven. It was focused, again, on making sure we have our law enforcement officers at the front line of federal policing.
    In the process, though, there have been economies that have been realized. Some of those economies will be reinvested to the front line or support areas, and some of the economy will simply be lost to some of the deficits that we have now.
    The RCMP is facing a reduced budget envelope. It's facing cuts.
    The government has said, with respect to other departments, not to worry about front-line service because the cuts are all going to impact the back office. It seems to me that in your business, the back office is really, in many ways, and more and more and more, the nerve centre of the operation. It's not police officers on the beat, per se; it's this bureaucracy of analysts and experts who are tracking crime across interprovincial borders and internationally and so on and so forth.
     I have a hard time squaring in my mind the fact that on the one hand we have budget cuts to the RCMP and on the other hand we have the increasing complexity of crime.
    If you look at financial crime alone, it takes months and months and months and years to really get to the point where you can charge individuals because what they're doing is so complex. Financial transactions are so complex. There's that. There's the whole issue of counterfeiting, which is now exploding. I've seen the statistics. We've gone beyond printing bills in a basement—and in saying ”we”, that's the royal “we”—to tracking fraudulent counterfeit consumer products, electronic products that are now finding their way into aircraft electronics and so on.
    The world is becoming more globalized. To me I see it a bit like the health care issue. Costs are being driven not so much by salaries but just by the complexity of the industry, if you want to call it that. If you start to try to cut by rationalizing, someone's going to get hurt. In the health care system, if you say that you're just going to keep costs constant, in the face of more expensive drugs, people are going to die just from waiting too long, perhaps, for a procedure. I'm very skeptical about the ability to squeeze more out of the policing system at a time when we need policing more, maybe.
    You talked about some initial economies, and I'm sure you're right, but maybe they're just initial economies, and once those are done you can't repeat those economies year after year after year. Once you've restructured, you can't keep restructuring every year and saving that way. I'd like your comment on that.


    I don't know where to start.
    You have about a minute.
    Okay, I'll try to do this within a minute.
    It's actually a very complex question that you're asking. I don't think there's any simple answer to it, but I think I'd like to take the opportunity to clarify something. Yes, the RCMP is subject to what some would call significant budget reductions, but that has nothing to do with federal policing and what we're doing now.
    Federal policing was not impacted by the deficit reduction action plan. We were not. We were excluded from that. That being said, we have other issues that are negatively impacting us, for example, the unfunded salary pay raises over the past three years, which equated to approximately 179 members who we have now to take off the books. There's an affordability, and our affordability is shrinking. You're absolutely right.
    What's the risk associated with this shrinking affordability when we compare that with the restructuring we're doing and all the efficiencies we're realizing? You may not agree with me, but I believe that the exercise we're going through now will actually allow us to provide a better service to Canadians than we are now. Re-engineering is not simply about reducing the number of employees and looking at categories of employees. It also involves providing flexibility to our managers in the field to be able to deploy their resources to the highest priorities and the latest emerging threat.
    Thank you very much.
     We'll go to Mr. Garrison and Mr. Rousseau on a split.
    Yes, it's a split, and I'm going to try to be very brief. I want to follow up on the commercial crime area. Anecdotally, as MPs, several of us have run across what constituents see as a problem in terms of bankruptcy fraud.
    My understanding of the way it works is that the Superintendent of Bankruptcy turns over files to the RCMP for investigation if there has been fraud in bankruptcy. What we are being told anecdotally is that unless the assets are of a certain value the RCMP simply does not investigate those files at this time, because the demand is too great. Do you have any comment that you can make publicly on that?
    I have a couple of comments, actually, if you'll allow me.
    I will start by saying that you're absolutely right. Currently, there are assessments that are being done on what I would refer to...I referred to calls for service earlier. That would fall in that category. Our managers have to assess the severity of the file or the matter that's being referred to them and compare it with everything else.
    My second comment is that we're moving away from that. Again, we're moving away from focusing on the commodities and looking at the organizations and the individuals that are behind a criminal offence. If a relatively minor, and I say “relatively”, fraudulent bankruptcy actually allows us to impact a significant criminal organization or individual, the new prioritization model takes that into consideration. In the future, we will be doing that.


    Things are changing. Things are shifting. This is why it's important for us now more than ever to have dialogue with all of our partners, including the office of....
    The Superintendent of Bankruptcy?
    Yes, the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.
    The Chair: Monsieur Rousseau.


    Francis asked some of the questions I wanted to ask you. That seems to be the lay of the land this morning.
    My question is for Mrs. Workman-Stark.
    I studied human resources, work organization, to be specific. It is a field that has much to do with time, movements, and the rationalization of services and staff. However in many organizations where these measures have been implemented, they have proven problematic. We noted that their effect was to deprive people of important aspects of their work as human beings, for instance their intuition, spontaneity and creativity. In my opinion those aspects are important when an officer has to assess situations.
    How will it be possible to restructure while preserving those aspects that are important to the work of a field officer, in my opinion?


    Thank you very much for the question. It's not one that we haven't heard before.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    It's true. We have. The genesis of the question has really been more so about that expertise.
    One of the things we've looked at going forward.... Also, just as a side comment, with this, we've had the benefit of really looking at doing things differently. I'll get to your question, but instead of taking a 20% hit, say, and cutting off a limb, we've had the opportunity to really look at how we can do things differently.
    In terms of human resources, it's actually looking at changing our structures and our models to really look at creating communities of practice. Really, it's about communities of practice around the realm of knowledge management, where you have people providing the opportunity, whether it's related to financial crime, national security, serious and organized crime, international policing, or intelligence, but enabling an environment for them to really engage and be creative, right? It's something that's going to be critical for us in moving forward: identifying innovative ways of actually penetrating criminality.
    This is something new, and I think it's much better than we've had in the past. We've been too siloed, so that innovation and creativity have been limited to a certain area. This is what is actually going to change to create that type of system. The measurements absolutely are questionable, but this is something that we're going to monitor for the next period of time.
    Thank you very much.


    My second question is for Mr. Cabana.
    There are four police forces in my riding, which is close to the border. There are six entry points. The Border Services Agency is there, as well as the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec, and occasionally, municipal police forces as well.
    I would like to know how the restructuring and the next $190 million round of cuts will affect services, and in particular, everyone's responsibilities. How is all of this going to be spread out, and what domino effect could the cuts to services and resources have? When I speak to officers in the field, I already see that resources are somewhat limited.
    How will these cuts affect the morale of the troops, who are so proud of their work?


    Could you give a very quick answer, please.


    What we hear regarding the troops and the RCMP is that our force is very excited. I am looking for the right term in French. They are committed to these changes we want to bring about.
    They are enthusiastic.
    Correct. They are enthusiastic. Thank you.
    They see the possibilities and the flexibility that this is going to give them in their daily work.
    As for our partner agencies, certain adjustments may have to be made. That is why we are discussing things with them and keeping them informed about how our process is evolving, so as to ensure that when we make the changes, this will not create a discrepancy no one will take responsibility for.



    Thank you very much.
    Mr. Hawn, go ahead, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to the witnesses for being here.
    Deputy Commissioner, you talked about no draft cuts for front-line policing, and that's great. You talked about flexibility and how there are economies in the flexibility.
    To follow the health care analysis a little bit, my opinion of the health care system is that we have some wonderful high-tech stuff out there, and everybody wants the high-tech solution when the low-tech solution may work just fine.
    Is that comparable to the kind of flexibility you're talking about in policing? You don't have to have the high-tech stuff all the time, and basic policing will sometimes be just as effective and cheaper.
    That's an interesting question. I am going to try to answer it. It might not be exactly on point, but these are some of the things we're looking at.
    Flexibility means flexibility in terms of being able to go after a criminal organization by whatever means the investigators can determine. Historically if the investigator was a drug investigator, he would be attacking the organization from their involvement in the drug environment. That won't be the case anymore. They can go after the organization by whatever means they want.
    Flexibility for us also means managers can consider the return on investment, if you want, from embarking on a full-fledged criminal investigation versus maybe approaching the criminal organization from a completely different perspective.
    Maybe the solution and the greatest impact will not be through a prosecution. Maybe, if the person is not a Canadian resident, deportation would be better. Maybe a tax evasion investigation by another department would be the solution.
    There should be flexibility in the tools that are at the disposal of the investigators. I think there are real benefits to be gained there.
    I want to go back to the international aspect and get your comments on the importance of CSIS expanding their international operations. The questions had to do with which was the lead agency, what that changes, and so on. Maybe, by way of example, you could step us through an operation to disrupt, say, human trafficking out of Thailand, including where that would start and how it would transition from an operation by CSIS to one by the RCMP to whoever as it comes to Canada, and the impact of that on domestic policing.
    How much time do I have?
    You have about two and a half minutes.
    It's hard to say how an investigation would be initiated, especially in the context of human trafficking. I'd suggest it's very likely that we would be the lead agency from the start. Assuming CSIS was involved.... Actually I support CSIS expanding their international footprint. I think it benefits everybody. It benefits the whole country. Assuming that through their international network they identified some potential terrorist or national security threat, and they embarked on an investigation that led them to secure some information or some indication that there were actually individuals who would be travelling or would facilitate the illegal immigration of individuals to Canada, at that point in time there would be some discussions around the coordination table in terms of what tools and what abilities we would be able to bring to bear to potentially prevent the immigration itself, or potentially disrupt it, or investigate it, and bring it to court.
    It's obviously cheaper for us as a country to interdict it in Bangkok than it is to interdict it on Vancouver Island.
    Absolutely. History has shown that.
    Yes, you bet.
    Again, sticking with the international, the RCMP is involved in a lot of international operations side by side with the Canadian Forces, in Afghanistan, for example. There is a cost to that.
    How important are those kinds of missions to the RCMP in terms of developing an overall capability in a combat operation like Afghanistan or something like Haiti?
    They are extremely important for a number of reasons. First of all, it gives us an opportunity to bring some of the culture and some of the principles that Canadian society holds so dear to the international forum, and potentially, hopefully, to try to implement it or share it with foreign jurisdictions.
    From a criminal perspective, it allows us, by assisting that jurisdiction, that country, to attain a certain stability and capacity in attacking criminality domestically within their borders, which can actually prevent that criminality from coming to Canada. Again, it is extremely important.


    Thank you very much.
    We'll move to Mr. Rafferty, please.
    Thank you very much, Chair.
    Thank you, witnesses, for being here today.
    I'd like to move the discussion back to more traditional policing. We've been talking about fraud and international policing and so on and so forth. I'd like to talk about aboriginal policing and the work that you do in the provinces and territories, the territories being a separate item where the RCMP is the front-line service, and your support for first nations policing in the provinces. We'll exclude Quebec and Ontario because the OPP picks up a lot of that slack right now.
    The RCMP has done a lot recently, in the last number of decades, in fact, to save costs. I'll use, just as an example, not moving officers around as much or not in such a short period of time.
    Let me talk first about the work that you do in the provinces and your relationship with first nations police services. I know first-hand, and we've heard from witnesses, that first nations policing is in trouble. How does re-engineering fit into helping ensure that aboriginal police forces are effective and that you are able, with your own budget cuts and so on, to provide the support for those first nations police services that is lacking, certainly in northern Ontario where continual chronic underfunding of first nations police forces has forced the OPP to pick up a lot of the slack? And they're not doing it anymore because they don't have the money either.
    I wonder if you'd like to make a comment on re-engineering and how that works. This is for either one of you.
    That's a difficult question to answer, especially if you exclude Quebec and Ontario.
    Our role in first nations policing or in assisting first nations policing is actually being managed out of our contract side of the house. Within Ontario and Quebec, and actually nationally, to a certain extent, the flexibility or the benefit of re-engineering for first nations policing would be in terms of our prioritization and our ability to have a more robust view of what's going on in our ability to assist first nations policing in attacking whatever criminal organizations are operating within their communities.
    Within Ontario and Quebec, and in Quebec specifically, we have a very strong relationship with first nations policing. They are part of some of our combined forces enforcement teams. There is one actually in Quebec specifically focused on looking at the operation of organized crime groups within first nations communities.
    That's why it's hard for me to give you a national perspective of what the re-engineering would do.
    I'm also thinking of the actual economics and the finances of having chronically underfunded first nations police services right across Canada and the RCMP in those provinces having to pick up the slack really. Just in terms of answering calls and supporting and doing that sort of thing when your own budgets are being cut, it seems to me that the economics are looking pretty grim across the country.
    I can't disagree with you, but as I said, unfortunately, in terms of how our contract's going to be mitigating whatever reductions they are going to be subjected to, I don't think I'm the one who should be speaking to that.
    What I can tell you, though, as the government, as the minister, even, has mentioned on several occasions, the impact to the front line by some of the reductions will be minimal, if any.
    You were talking about the back office. The back office does not necessarily refer to the intelligence analysts. It refers more to some of the administrative process that the organization has.
    I would hazard to suggest that the minister is wrong in that assessment—
    There's a surprise.
    —in terms that the economics are not going to be impacted. Really, the RCMP, in terms of first nations and aboriginal persons, are picking up more and more of the slack because you've got another police service that's not well funded. I don't understand that.
    You both talked about opportunity, so where's the opportunity here in terms of first nations and aboriginal policing, with re-engineering?


    Please reply very quickly.
    In terms of our contract work, the opportunities are very minimal. In terms of aboriginal communities that are located in Ontario and Quebec, the relationship is already there. In terms of the collaboration and the enhanced coordination with them, working together to attack organized crime, that's already there and that will continue.
    Thank you very much.
    We want to thank you for appearing. We've heard this before many a time. In the decade from 1997 to 2007, policing costs went from $6 billion to $12 billion.
    Even though Mr. Scarpaleggia talked about not just the wages or the personnel being cut, that makes up 80% to 85% of the costs of the overall policing. So we want to make sure that, in other areas as well, we can see ways that more efficiently provide safety and security for Canadians.
    Also, if you have any suggestions, anything else that you would like to add to what you've said today, if you wouldn't mind just forwarding it to our committee, that would be entered in as evidence or as testimony as well.
    I think we see from all parties a general understanding that we have to become more efficient in the way we deliver this. Even from the police forces we see that, and I thank you for coming her this morning to help us understand this topic a little better.
    We are going to suspend for one moment. Our next guests will come to us via teleconference.



    Welcome back to meeting number 69 of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
    We're continuing our study on the economics of policing in Canada. In our second hour we have two witnesses appearing by video conference. We have yet to bring up one.
    From Burnaby, British Columbia, testifying as an individual, we have Curt Taylor Griffiths, a professor in the school of criminology and coordinator of the police studies program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. In Vancouver it would be about a quarter to seven, so he will be here with us shortly, I am told. Professor Griffiths is considered to be an expert in the field of policing, community and restorative justice, corrections, legal reform, and social development. He is a co-author of many different books, research reports, and articles.
    Also appearing by video conference from Carbondale, Illinois, we have Joseph Schafer, associate professor with the Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency, and Corrections at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He is president of the Society of Police Futurists International, a member of the Futures Working Group and a futurist in residence with the behavioural science unit of the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia. Dr. Schafer's research examines police leadership, police discretion, police organizations, and program evaluation.
    Our committee thanks these witnesses for helping us with our study on the costs of policing in Canada.
    I will begin by welcoming Professor Schafer. We could begin with you, sir.


     Thank you, Mr. Chair, and members of the committee for the opportunity to appear before you today. I know this body has already heard some important and informative testimony so I will keep my comments brief in light of the time restrictions and what I believe you've already heard.
    Matters of economics, sustainability, cost, and value in policing are of critical importance in considering the future of public safety services in any nation. Regrettably, in my opinion, these issues have largely been ignored. Resources more typically are infused into or drained away from police services and other public safety agencies with a limited understanding of how we might maximize benefits and minimize harm when those types of steps are necessary.
    As a consequence, we don't really have a clear understanding of how to ensure we've received the most benefit possible from our public safety tax dollars. To me, the consideration of economics in policing comes down to the related issues of cost and value. Cost is easy to understand and relatively easy to measure. I suspect it both motivates many of the conversations around the economics of policing and it often tends to drive budgetary decision-making in this area.
    Cost, however, does not give you, as decision-makers, all of the information you need to do your job with diligence. Discussions of economics in policing must also incorporate consideration of value. This is a more subjective issue, but in general, what is the value or return on investment for an infusion of public safety expenditures.
    I'll focus my brief comments this morning on five major themes. I would note that my orientation is certainly conditioned by my American perspective on this issue, which you may find in this consideration either helpful or at times irrelevant. My orientation is also influenced by my work looking at future issues in policing. In conducting your important work, I would encourage you to not simply consider the current economic realities of policing and public safety in Canada, but also to consider how those realities may manifest themselves in the future, a situation that at times might be a radical departure from current circumstances.
    First of all, existing performance measures in policing are convenient, though they're imperfect and limited in scope. They only tell us a small part of the narrative about the ability of police officers and organizations to influence the communities that they serve. While it's relatively easy to identify alternate performance indicators that might provide a more holistic understanding of the influence police have on communities, such as the fear of crime, a sense of safety among citizens, the provision of justice, measuring those indicators is challenging from both practical and fiscal perspectives.
    Second, certainly using the United States as an example, we can find ample examples of troubled communities that have made appreciable cuts in policing services in the last five years and have experienced violent crime rates that have escalated rapidly. At the same time, we can also find examples of agencies that have made analogous staffing cuts and did not experience major increases in serious crime. Whether those distinctions are a consequence in the latter jurisdiction, whether there are other consequences, such as increases in disorder or minor crime, remains open to debate. There is not always a clear relationship between police staffing levels and crime rates. Crime reductions, whether driven by staffing or other considerations, are a function of a community's composition, the capacities and skill set of the police force, and importantly, the way in which policing resources are directed and deployed.
    The point here is that increasing or decreasing police staffing by itself may not condition subsequent rates of crime and disorder in a direct manner. Our understanding of the staffing deployment crime and disorder relationships is imperfect and incomplete. More experience is needed and more evidence must be presented so we can have a more robust understanding. I would note that what we do understand about the relationship between police staffing and crime tends to be derived largely from urban areas. These dynamics may be quite different in jurisdictions serving small, rural, or first nation communities. We simply do not know.


    Third, it is important that a conversation on economics in policing look beyond the crime rate in judging success. There are less evident outcomes of policing services, such as generating and sustaining public trust and confidence, fostering a sense of community, creating an environment in which people feel reasonably safe and secure, and providing citizens with quality government services that are responsive to the public's needs and expectations.
    All of these are quite difficult to measure, and, at least in the United States, our experiences with recent economic difficulties do not clearly illuminate whether or not these intangibles have been affected by recent staffing and budget changes.
    The value received from government investment in public safety may go beyond simple reported rates of crime and disorder. A community in which citizens are objectively safe but who live in fear and lack trust in the police is not a preferred outcome, in my opinion.
    Fourth, I believe I have been asked to speak before you today because one of my areas of expertise is future studies as it relates to policing. Future thinking is not a process intended to strictly predict the future; rather, it is a process to help us make better decisions today. In effect, it is a form of strategic planning.
    For the sake of brevity, I would note that a major implication of future studies is the observation that as groups engage in discussions about the economics of policing, it is critical that the discussion of the future does not always assume constancy or even a linear pace of change.
    I would encourage your body to consider several questions. For instance, what challenges and opportunities will emerge for the commission and prevention of crime in the future? When, where, and how are citizens likely to wish to receive policing services in the future, a situation that might be quite different from the status we see today? How will emerging technologies create both challenges and opportunities to deliver quality public safety services and also address ancillary needs, such as training and education of police personnel? How might generational differences between those in the labour force today and those entering the labour force change the values and motivations of police personnel?
    How might social and technological changes manifest themselves in the ways in which citizens wish to access police services? Today we might suspect that most citizens would prefer to personally see a police officer when they are reporting a victimization experience. In 2025, as an example, the typical crime victim may be perfectly content reporting their experiences electronically, or even by an artificial intelligence-based system. If that is the case, there are important implications for thinking about police service delivery into the future.
    How will emergent social and technological transformations influence the ancillary costs of policing? For example, how might educational technologies be used to streamline when and how police personnel are trained and educated?
    The fifth and final issue I would address is that this conversation should not simply be about cutting policing services and/or police personnel. It should include consideration of how services can be delivered in acceptable alternate ways and also by those other than sworn personnel. This might include using technology to facilitate police-citizen interactions that are not always direct and face to face. This might include the use of civilian and volunteer personnel.
    Consideration of the latter should not be restricted to the traditional focus of off-loading low-end tasks onto non-sworn personnel. Civilians and volunteers might be ideally suited to take on some of the more challenging tasks and mandates confronting modern police agencies.
    Though we certainly must use caution in deploying these strategies, we must also recognize that they may not always be available in smaller and more rural jurisdictions.
    I would reinforce in this discussion that cost alone cannot win the day in considering these types of transformations. This body must examine whether the public will be adequately served and sufficiently satisfied with such changes. Will they still see that there is an appropriate value in the services they receive from the tax dollars they pay to support public safety?
    I will conclude my comments with three brief suggestions for this committee and its efforts.
    First, I would encourage you to approach this task with a futures orientation. Do not presume that there will be continuity in when, where, and how police operations are conducted. Do not presume that the public safety expectations of the public will remain the same. Do not presume that the motivation and skills of police personnel will be stable. Do not presume that the nature and volume of crime will look the same 20 years from now as it did 20 years ago. The future presents both challenges and opportunities for us. Be aware of the former and seek ways to capitalize upon the latter.


     Second, bear in mind that errors can take a long time to correct when considering issues of public safety. An unpopular decision to stop sending first responders to immediately take a report for a given criminal incident might over time be found sufficiently unpopular with citizens, but the consequences of that error are likely relatively minimal and relatively easy to reverse. Alternately, a decision that results in a failure to effectively address emergent delinquent conduct among youth might result in a generation of future offenders being created, and once that creation has occurred the consequences of that error can take decades to be resolved.
    Finally, though resources are tight, as an academic I would encourage this body to continue to seek evidence-based solutions and demand evidence-based evaluation of any changes that are made. In 1936, sociologist Robert Merton wrote a classic essay in which he discussed what he termed the “unanticipated consequences of purposive social change”. His implication for this body in that essay is that it is important to use evidence and experience to guide choices. Moving forward, it is also important to use evidence to ensure your changes achieve the desired results. Perhaps most importantly, in seeking to monitor results, it is important to look for things we did not expect, to seek to detect both the mistakes that might be made and to seek out the possibility that advantages have been realized that were not anticipated initially.
    I commend this committee and its constituents for taking on such a difficult and important task. I thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
    Thank you very much, Dr. Schafer.
    We have Professor Griffiths with us now. I introduced him earlier. At least I think he's with us. It looks like he's left the building. Anyway, Dr. Schafer, thank you. We were trying to get a setup. We've had some difficulties with the audio into Burnaby, British Columbia, and Professor Griffiths was with us. He's just left. I'm anticipating that we'll be able to come back. Maybe they've moved to a different room; I'm not certain.
    We'll go into a first round of questioning.
    Dr. Schafer, and to our committee, if Professor Griffiths comes back, I will probably break right there and go to him and hear his testimony.
    Mr. Norlock, would you begin, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Through you to the witness, thank you for making yourself available, Professor Schafer.
    I'm going to start off with referring to the previous witness. There was a discussion as to whether or not you can achieve savings within a deployed police force with a reduction in certain personnel. In my past I was with a deployed police force. We were able to do that by three police detachments within a smaller jurisdiction combining their administration. You can reduce the number of administrative personnel and ancillary civilian jobs while keeping the same number of front-line police officers in the field.
    Of particular interest to me—in some of the biography I read and some of the issues that you've dealt with—are different forms of criminal justice, and, of course, the time a person is with the police. Before I left policing some dozen or so years ago, the Ontario criminal justice system was adopting the restorative justice regime. I think its roots were in New Zealand through the Maori, the healing circles. It had to do with positive shaming. The victim and the person with the anti-social type behaviour would be put in the same room. They would not go through the criminal justice system. That relieved in the future the person's quasi-criminal or anti-social behaviour, and thus reduced costs.
    I wonder if you've looked at that at all in your studies.


     That's not something I would claim to have personal expertise on. I think in general your assessment is correct. If we think particularly about first-time or low-severity offenders part of the conversation for achieving public safety savings may be in identifying programs through which we can achieve a long-term crime reduction outcome with that offender outside of conventional public safety criminal justice responses. Potentially that could achieve both a savings at the initial point when they have contact with the justice system but also hopefully it could reduce their proclivity to offend in the future and therefore achieve a long-term savings as well.
    Thank you.
    I also observed that this past January you attended the Summit on the Economics of Policing. Can you tell the committee what your role there was and of any best practices you may have taken with you, or brought away with you, or some suggestions? You have already talked about some of those suggestions in your preamble. I just wonder if you have anything in addition to say, especially on those issues surrounding your attendance at the summit in January.
    Yes, sir.
    My role was similar, I believe, to my role here today, to provide some discussion for the attendees at that program about this notion of futurist thinking, about this notion of not simply anticipating a linear progression of both the problems in the environment in which public safety operates, and to be not just aware of emerging challenges but emerging opportunities.
    To the comments I presented earlier, one of the clear examples we can see that's very germane in my normal daily life in college and university education is the radical and rapid changes in how people are being provided opportunities to learn, using technology to accomplish things that even a few years ago were not possible in the college classroom and in the high school classroom.
    It's only a matter of time before it would be logical to look at those same types of ideas and ask whether we could realize efficiencies in the ancillary aspects of public safety by rather than requiring several dozen people at a time to attend a particular training session, facilitate completion through online platforms. The possibilities we may be able to see in that area, even in the next two to three years, are light years away from how most people have considered online education and training for the last 10 to 15 years. It's going to be a radically different environment.
    I think that in terms of many of our past concerns about online education, of online training being a very poor alternative to face-to-face contact, in reality we're going to see some very strong possibilities that could both enhance training and also substantially reduce costs.
    Thank you very much for that.
    I noticed something in the information I have about you, and I wonder if you could point this committee to police forces, whether they be in the United States of America or perhaps European countries, countries that have similar policing structures to those in Canada and the U.S., particularly Canada. How have they dealt with the economics of policing vis-à-vis either stagnant.... When I say “stagnant” I mean funding models that are relatively constant or that don't grow at an exponential rate. How have they been able to adjust their service delivery and still maintain a high level of productivity? That means solving crime and meeting with community expectations, which are not, as you would know, always the same.
    I wonder if you would be able to provide some examples to our researchers, and perhaps comment right now because we may end up asking for, as additional witnesses, some of those police forces or agencies.


    Very quickly, as we have about 30 seconds on this round.
    Yes, I can certainly reflect on that and provide some additional names.
    One agency that certainly comes to mind, which I've had some discussions with, is the Colorado Springs Police Department. They have a very challenging tax structure that compounds their budget reductions. They have done what I think are some very innovative strategies that they've deployed to address these types of issues.
    Thank you very much, Dr. Schafer and Mr. Norlock.
    We'll now move to Madam Doré Lefebvre.


    You have seven minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you very much, Dr. Schafer, for being here with us at this hearing of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security. Your comments are greatly appreciated.
    My first question is related to research and innovation. Many of the witnesses who appeared before the committee have said that it might be important to invest in research and innovation and to create a department or national agency where best practices could be made available to all police services, urban or rural, throughout the country. I know that there are several research and innovation agencies in the United States.
    Do you think that this would be a good way to transfer information among the various police services? Do those types of agencies function well? Are they used to good advantage in the United States?


    Yes, I think that a distinction could also be made in your discussion about efforts to create a research clearing house, a way to centralize what is known from various agencies. I believe in reviewing some of the earlier materials the committee has heard that there have been discussions of the website
    The problem-oriented policing centre also provides a way whereby agencies can pass on small research projects and experiential projects they have completed, and then that is compiled and collated so that other agencies can learn from those examples. I think that's one perhaps relatively inexpensive way to centralize knowledge.
     The other format might be more in line with our National Institute of Justice, and ways in which our federal government seeks to fund and support the creation of new knowledge. I think it's important to know that there is a distinction. Certainly, both of those activities are quite important, but in economically challenging environments, funding robustly the creation of new knowledge may be far more challenging. A slightly more austere approach might be simply to create a mechanism by which agencies can share their experiences and best practices with one another.


    Thank you very much.
    I have a brief question concerning the privatization of police services. You may be more familiar than we are with that type of operation. What do you think of the privatization of police services?
    I know that that is done more frequently in the United States. Does it work well? Would you recommend it?


    Privatization is something that needs to be approached with a great deal of caution. Certainly, any government agency, any public service organization, might have somewhat inflated costs, might not be quite as lean in its operation as a private corporation, but in my opinion there is also some truth to the popular phrase that you get what you pay for. I think at times that privatization—the increasing experience in the U.S., although it's still somewhat mixed—while it might save costs, also reduces value. That enters into that subjective area that I mentioned earlier in passing, whereby it becomes a bit of a matter of personal opinion whether we are willing to accept a lesser quality of service in exchange for a reduced cost of that service.
    I think savings certainly can be achieved, but often that may be at the expense of having personnel conducting duties who are less trained, less equipped, less prepared, less educated. It's certainly a function of what we are expecting people to do. We can see examples in the United States of very successful privatization efforts for discrete, specific, narrow policing tasks where it makes little sense to have a full-time, sworn, uniformed, equipped officer doing what amounts to little more than a security function. As to having private security personnel engaging in a broader level of public safety patrolling and handling incidents, I think that becomes a much more complicated circumstance.



    Thank you very much.
    At the beginning of your intervention, you talked about a more collaborative approach among police services, and if I understood correctly, the various social services.
    We lost the lighting and we could no longer see you.


     Yes, I think I sat still for too long.


    You talked about cooperation among various services, in particular medical services, and social and police services.
    In your opinion, could this be useful in fighting street gangs? Could this contribute to keeping young people away from crime? Do you think we should emphasize that approach?


    Again, the evidence is not 100%. There are strategies that have been attempted that have not proven to be successful. There are a lot of strategies that have been successful in which by taking a more integrated collaborative approach towards matters of delinquency, gang activity, urban violence, substance abuse, and the needs of those with mental illness, we're not simply placing that responsibility on the shoulders of the police. Instead, involving police with other community, health, education, and outreach specialists can achieve very positive results. I think it's very important to explore non-traditional ways of thinking about how we might resolve those types of problems.


    Thank you.


    Thank you very much, Dr. Schafer.
    We'll now move to Mr. Payne, please, for seven minutes.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Thank you, Professor, for sharing your knowledge with us.
    I noted in your opening comments that you talked about something I call the best bang for the buck. I think you called it cost and value. You touched on an area of the Colorado Springs police. I think you said that was a good police force that was doing some excellent work. I know you're prepared to send some information, but I'm wondering about a couple of things.
    First of all, could you give us a bit of detail on that?
    Second, are you aware of other police forces that are sharing best practices and which ones are those? Would it be good for us here in Canada to look at those forces or at forces in another country that you might be aware of?
    Certainly. I would be better positioned to provide some other specific agencies once I have a chance to review some materials after today's session.
    The one caution I would reiterate from my opening comments is that I think what we do know from the American experience tends to be with rather large or urban agencies, maybe not Chicago but a suburb of Chicago, from their agency and things like this. What we know about these matters in smaller jurisdictions, in more rural areas, and what might be effective or ineffective in first nations areas, I think, is another matter. We have to be cautious, both in the U.S. and I would suggest in Canada, about assuming that those experiences will transfer over.
    As for the Colorado Springs experience, I had some opportunities to visit that community about a year and a half ago, and one of the issues they have wrestled with is a radical cut in budget and the cascading effect of a reduction in patrol personnel.
     Their response has been to create alternative ways to handle common but low priority, what are often referred to as low solvability offences. Theft offences underneath a certain dollar value of loss, when there are no witnesses or forensic evidence, and those types of cases, regrettably, have an extremely low rate of being solved. Rather than dispatching a uniformed officer at the time an incident is reported, they are encouraging citizens instead to use a reporting website to call in and speak with an officer who might be on light duty at the police station and who will complete a report by phone. In their experience, these types of incidents can be handled without physically sending an officer in many situations. Although, I think even the personnel from that agency would caution that they have some trepidation that while perhaps they've done a good job and because of these strategies they've been able to ensure the patrol force can focus on serious and violent crime and keep those matters largely in check, there is some internal trepidation that perhaps that achievement regarding serious and violent crime has, to some extent, been at the sacrifice of doing a quality job of providing full service towards low level property offences.
     I certainly can put your staff in contact with some of the folks I've worked with within that agency. I'm sure they would be happy to share some of their experiences with you further.


    Are you aware of other organizations sharing best practices that could potentially benefit us?
    Yes, I think there are some efforts out there.The International Association of Chiefs of Police has done some work looking at this. The Police Executive Research Forum, or PERF, has put together some publications and has looked at some of these matters as well. I'm not sure, but, off the top of my head, I suspect the Police Foundation has explored this issue as well. Those would be three good starting points, although I'm quite confident there are other efforts that simply are not coming to my mind at this point.
    Professor, could you describe current trends in crime rates in the U.S. and how they've affected the police forces’ services? Do you see any comparison with those in Canada?
    I think the crime rate in the last five years, in light of the economic downturn in this country, has defied what conventional criminological thinking would have suggested. At the onset of the recession, there was a great deal of discussion about the idea that we expected to see crime increase dramatically and that the 15-plus years of declining and low crime we had experienced would be over.
    What we have generally seen is the opposite of that. We've seen a stable to, in some situations, declining crime rate. There certainly can be numerous examples to the counterpoint of that statement. That's a very broad statement. You can find sources out there that tend to cherry-pick and say, “Well, robbery in this community has gone up 15% in the last year”. It's not going to be a uniformly accurate statement, but in general, we've not seen the fallout and the consequences.
    I would reiterate one of my opening comments. What we don't yet know are a couple of things. One, we don't yet know whether there has been a clear influence on citizen satisfaction, fear of crime, and perception of safety. Two, it may be too early to tell whether some of the initiatives and programs that have been cut, that might target youth, might possibly result—I don't think we know or have a preliminary indication—in a future generation of offenders who are not being pushed away from that poor choice. Once people start on that track, if we don't have the right interventions and early warning systems in place, it can very quickly get away from us. I don't think in the U.S. we can say that we are going to evade any problems with this particular economic downturn.
    Thank you very much, Dr. Schafer.
    We'll now move to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please.
    That was very interesting, Dr. Schafer.
    On your last point about the economy and crime, would it not be accurate to say that crime has more long-term causes many of which could be economic? For example, the persistence of youth unemployment over many business cycles results, sometimes, in a kind of criminal gang-related underclass or a drug subculture.
    One has trouble intuitively understanding that if someone is laid off at the local GM plant, that suddenly they go and rob a bank or whatever. Would you say that the link is more long term and, as you say, maybe endemic, that if we don't deal with youth unemployment quickly, we end up creating this stubborn problem that may only go away with an aging population?


    Certainly I would preface this remark by saying I'm not an expert in this type of macro-level economic and criminological research. My view is that our past experience in the U.S. with crime during times of economic downturns leads us to believe that we would have seen a clearer manifestation of those problems by now than we have. There certainly is an argument that there might be a lagging effect. The relationship is not direct. It's not about dad who loses his job at the GM plant. It's about what happens when dad loses the job, is unable to find employment, falls into depression and alcoholism, and neglects his son, who ultimately grows up to make poor choices.
    You are certainly correct in that we have to be very cautious in thinking that in the U.S. we've dodged the bullet, if you will, on this situation simply by virtue of not seeing that immediate outcome. It's a very complex set of relationships, many of which are long term and very difficult to disentangle or correct.
    Thank you.
    You mentioned the idea of using civilian volunteers. You made the point, perhaps a pre-emptive point, that you weren't just talking about the creation of neighbourhood watch groups, that you thought civilian volunteers could play a part in more complex, if you will, aspects of policing. Could you elaborate on that?
    Yes. In the U.S. we've tended to view volunteers as doing very low-level type tasks, what I generally say in addressing the issue with American police forces. Typically we see volunteers being brought together when there's a community festival and we need somebody to sit on a barricade to block traffic from going down a particular road. It's not a particularly high-skill task but an important task. We tend to view volunteers as supporting fairly low-level security and public order tasks, supporting very low-level clerical tasks.
    I've heard of examples of agencies in the U.S. in the last couple of years training civilian volunteers to gather forensic evidence at crime scenes, again, using that as a way to dedicate fully trained staff for more serious incidents. You have burglary incidents where the forensics tend to be fairly simple: photographing a crime scene, dusting for prints perhaps, collecting some type of tool-mark impression, things of this nature. Having a civilian do these types of low priority, less serious types of events that tend to be quite high in volume and consume a lot of resources allows for fully trained personnel to focus on more complex violent crime incidents.
    I'm not sure to what extent that situation has been legally vetted in terms of admissibility of evidence in U.S. courts. It goes back to cost and value for us and whether we are willing to offset for the savings in cost.
    Yes, because evidence is the crux of a case, so you'd want to make sure that people who are accountable—
    —experts are gathering the evidence, I would imagine.
    There's the whole issue of indicators, which seems to be quite a complex one. How do you measure the impact of policing? Is it just in terms of GDP lost? How do you measure the consequence of a 95-year-old grandmother who's been defrauded out of her life savings having to move into her daughter's basement, and so on? That must be one of the more challenging aspects of this exercise, developing indicators that are solid, that mean something, and that achieve a consensus of meaning, if you will, to measure impacts. I guess this is one of the major challenges.


    Absolutely. I would agree with you fully. It's getting a really accurate understanding of economics that goes beyond simple salary and benefit data into the impact of crime, and also measuring the less tangible influence that police and public safety officials have beyond simply the crime rate.
    You also mentioned that privatization reduces value. Could you explain what you mean by that?
    I would not necessarily say that in all situations and circumstances, but I think there can be times when privatization is a good idea and can save money.
     We've also seen experience in the U.S. where, in the long run, it was determined that privatization actually was as expensive, or more expensive, than it would have been to simply keep something under government control. We're starting to see some examples and evidence of that in the U.S. with privatization of jails and prisons.
    Thanks very much.
    Thank you very much.
    I should also make mention, and maybe I did make mention of it already, that we will not be going to committee business.
    We'll go back to Mr. Rafferty, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. This is a fascinating discussion.
    Thank you, Professor Schafer, for being here.
    I have to comment on everybody's questioning. It really is of high quality. I'm learning a lot.
    One of the things you talked about was asking questions dealing with what the future holds. When I look to the future of policing, I have a little trouble prognosticating. Maybe I watch too much science fiction. All I can think of is the movie I, Robot.
    You mentioned some of the questions you would ask. If I were to ask you to look into the future, what are the sorts of things 10, 20, and 50 years down the road that you could perhaps personally anticipate might happen in policing, and what should we be looking at?
    One of the issues I alluded to in that set of questions related to public expectations about when, where, and how police services are delivered. Also, I think for most people over the age of perhaps 25 or 30, the notion that routinely we might interface not with a live police officer when we are a victim of crime, but by communicating by computer or telephone or some other type of telecommunications device with a computer system driven by artificial intelligence to report our victimization, is hard to fathom, hard to understand, and probably is very much an antithesis to our traditional idea about how citizens interface with government.
    Today's youth is growing up more and more with less emphasis on face-to-face contact, and more reliance on technology as a modality of communication. In 10 years, when such technologies are more readily available for very low cost and at a very high technical quality, those folks, as they enter into adulthood, might think nothing of having their victimization reported not to a real, live person, but rather to a computer system that can understand what it is being told and ask follow-up questions, for instance, about the burglary that I've experienced. Therefore, we shouldn't necessarily presume constancy in the public expectation to have a uniformed, live patrol officer there to validate my experience as a crime victim.
    Can we in the future, do you think, anticipate consistency of the nature of crime? In other words, things that we see today have not always existed in the past and perhaps going forward into the future. I'm thinking of cost implications now, in particular, not just in technology but perhaps in other areas.
    I think it depends a little bit on one's philosophical orientation. There's a train of thinking that says fundamentally all crime is theft, that if somebody steals from me, they steal from me, and I experience that theft. If somebody assaults me, I lose some level of physical integrity and sense of security. If somebody is killed, there is a loss of life, and productivity and interaction thereon. A strong argument can be made that, while we certainly see a lot of evolutions in the modalities by which people can commit crimes, at the core, crime is still pretty much the same set of circumstances that we've dealt with traditionally in terms of theft and robbery, assault and sex crimes, and things of that nature. The modalities and specifics may differ, but fundamentally an argument can be made that it's still the same crime problems we've traditionally had.


    One more quick question is directly related to the economics. When you look into the future, given all the changes that can happen economically and worldwide and globally, do you anticipate that policing is possibly going to get cheaper?
    I think it probably depends on how broadly we want to defuse that cost. I think there could be an accounting orientation that would say if we offset some aspect of policing services and say we're going to shove this over to mental health, we're going to use this community service agency to help us with a gang reduction strategy, the budget of the police department itself might be reduced. But the more difficult issue to get one's mind around in terms of the overall investment in safety and crime prevention might perhaps be static, although again that assumes some level of a fair degree of constancy in the number of police personnel. If technology reaches a point where large aspects of police operations can be moved from performance by individuals to performance by technology, it's possible there could be a very large savings if large numbers of people, large segments of a force, are no longer needed because we have other ways to deliver that same service.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Rafferty.
    Mr. Gill, please.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I also want to thank Professor Schafer for being available and helping us with this important study.
    Professor, I'm wondering if you could highlight and maybe give us your recommendations in which areas the police forces potentially could find efficiencies. Do you have personal recommendations where you believe there are areas of opportunity?
    I would feel a bit reluctant to get too far into that conversation as an outsider to any individual police department and certainly to police forces in Canada, knowing that while there are a lot of parallels between American and Canadian policing, there are also some important distinctions.
     That said, I think the answer is likely also going to be quite different in large forces, the RCMP and provincial forces, versus some of the very small and first nations agencies, where there may be very little efficiencies to squeeze out of such situations.
    Evidence-based practices are an important indicator, I think, making sure that the practices we are doing and consider to be vital are in fact producing the desired results. If we don't think they are providing us with sufficient value, then for some practices, although they're nice to have, we might question whether or not we need to continue to staff or task those types of roles and responsibilities. That could take the form of specific community services or crime prevention services, units, or programs that a large agency might operate, or it could turn to questions about whether or not having the police department even deal with certain community matters makes sense given its severity and seriousness relative to other types of demands on the police department and the volume of time it's taking for the police force.
    Although I would be reluctant to enumerate what any of those specific tasks or responsibilities would be, I think there are ways to approach that conversation, albeit a very difficult conversation.
    Can you also please discuss your recommendations on how to provide quality public safety service during times of dwindling economic resources, and how to make cutbacks that actually make sense?


    To some extent, I think this body and the work it's been doing are very important steps in that direction.
    I would question to what extent there should be conversations with citizens on their thoughts about this. I often wonder, with regard to the services in any government agency that those working in the agency view as being vital and critical, i.e., the public demands that we do these tasks, whether the public really shares that value. Does the public really believe there is a similar amount of importance? Does the public want us, particularly in tight times, to continue doing that service, knowing its relative costs?
    I think one of the ways to get at those types of questions is also to find ways to engage members of the public and members of various communities, to get their input on what they value and think is important, what they want to see in terms of how they conceptualize what quality policing services would be.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Gill.
    Thank you very much, Dr. Schafer.
    Before we go back to Mr. Garrison, I'd just like to ask one little question.
    We've talked a little bit about ways in which different jurisdictions have cut some costs. I can tell you a story.
    I was to have a meeting with a staff sergeant, and the meeting was changed because he had to travel an hour and a half to appear before a court. We weren't able to have that meeting. Afterwards, I found out that he'd driven up to Edmonton, and the person, who was the defendant, I guess, didn't appear. The staff sergeant had travelled two hours to get there and two hours back, and he said it was the second time in that case that had happened.
    Obviously there's a huge cost involved in having a staff sergeant in the RCMP travel that distance and take that much time, only to have the person not appear.
    There must be other departments that play a role in how we can cut back, in that case, not just the law enforcement, but the judiciary. Are there any studies that would point to how we can cut costs in other departments? We've already heard about how mental health is a huge cost to our policing. Do you have any studies that would aid our committee in perhaps reducing costs with other areas, such as justice or whatever?
    I don't off the top of my head, but I think it certainly is a very critical part of this conversation. It's perhaps a bit more difficult to address, because it starts pulling in the practices of other organizations.
    Off the top of my head, I can't think of any studies of that in the U.S.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Garrison, please.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    I know we're running out of time, so I'll skip my partisan preface to this question.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    Mr. Randall Garrison: Dr. Schafer, in your suggestions, you talk about evidence-based solutions. I wonder if you have any particularly good examples, either positive or negative, of solutions that were adopted and which either were or were not based on solid evidence.
    Yes. I think there's a wide range of examples in the U.S. in general in looking at crime prevention and public safety issues. I think that because of the lag time to produce solid research evidence among researchers, evidence is still not widely available related to this specific set of questions about whether certain changes motivated based on economic circumstances might achieve effective outcomes.
     I think threads of what you're talking about can probably be located in, such as looking at the problem-oriented policing centre and looking at other entities that seek to coordinate best practices, because often fiscal cost is a part of those conversations.
    If I were to ask you for one or two police agencies that you think have been particularly innovative in dealing with these cost questions in the United States, are there one or two examples that you would think are the best practice and leading-edge examples of dealing with these larger cost questions?
    Certainly, just based on the experiences I've had with them, I think Colorado Springs is a very good model, in part because their experiences certainly have not been a panacea. They've really wrestled with some of these important internal questions about whether they're sacrificing value in one area to preserve value in another. I think that's probably more honest and normative. I would be a little skeptical of agencies that make this seem really easy and painless.


    Thank you very much.
    Thank you.
    We also want to thank you for appearing, Dr. Schafer. Our time is up. We did have some audio difficulties with our other guest from Vancouver, and you filled in and took not only half the questions but the full time here. We certainly appreciate your expertise. We appreciate your ideas as to places that we perhaps can look at. You referenced Colorado Springs a number of times. We thank you.
    Also, if you are aware of any other studies or if in answering a question you think you could have expanded on it a little more—maybe I cut you off—we would invite you, and welcome you, to forward any of that information to our committee, if you wouldn't mind. We appreciate your attendance here this morning.
    It was my pleasure. Thanks very much to all of you.
    Thank you.
    Committee, our time is up, so we are adjourned.
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