The RCMP plans to reduce the number of districts in New Brunswick to three from 11 over the next year and the number of detachments may also be cut.
But the public should notice no changes in service or response times, says Assistant Commissioner Wayne Lang.
"The measure of the effectiveness of a police force is not how many detachments they have or whether … we even have a detachment in your community. The measure should be the impact that we're having in crime in your community," he said.
"Are we reducing crime in your community? Are we preventing crime in your community? And in fact we're encouraging our members to get out of their detachments and be visible and engaged in the communities."
Cost is the driving force behind the restructuring, following a review of core services, said Lang, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.
His departure later this spring has nothing to do with the coming changes, he said.
- Northeast will encompass the new provincial regional service commissions (RSC) 2, 3, 4 and 5.
- Southeast will comprise of the RSCs 6, 7, 8 and 9.
- West district will include RSCs 1, 10, 11, and 12.
"We had to take into consideration the existing infrastructure. Detachments may have been located at different places had we started from a completely fresh slate," Lang said.
"We have an aging and rusting infrastructure in New Brunswick. We have about 56 detachments, which we maintain is too many to support in the long-term."
The number of offices is one of the highest per capita in the country, he said. Nova Scotia, for example, has only 37.
As a result, some of the RCMP's buildings across New Brunswick may be decommissioned, but those decisions will be made in consultation with municipal and provincial officials, said Lang.
Crime reduction teams
The new structure will allow the RCMP to maximize its budget and operational efficiencies by redistributing resources and reducing administration costs, he said.
One of the changes will include some frontline members being assigned to specialized crime reduction teams, said Lang.
They will work closely with crime analysts, allowing frontline officers to focus on priority calls and proactive policing activities, such as targeted drug and traffic enforcement, he said.
The RCMP's last restructuring was in the mid-1990s and much has changed since then with respect to society, crime, technology and policing, said Lang.
The new northeast district will encompass the new provincial regional service commissions (RSC) 2, 3, 4 and 5, said Lang.
The new southeast district will comprise of the RSCs 6, 7, 8 and 9, while the new west district will include RSCs 1, 10, 11, and 12.
Only the greater Moncton Codiac RCMP is exempted from the pending changes, he said.
Lang, originally from Shawville, Quebec, joined the RCMP in 1979.
He began his career in Grand Falls, N.B., after graduating from the RCMP Academy.
Since then, he has been posted to a wide variety of policing jobs in the province, as well as in Ottawa and Montreal.
Lang was appointed to his current post in 2009.
A search for his successor is expected to begin soon.