Nunavik police force faces officer shortage, Sûreté du Québec steps up with help

16 police officers resigned from the Kativik Regional Police Force in the past 6 weeks, leaving the organization responsible for policing 14 Nunavik communities short-handed.

16 officers recently left the force for policing jobs in other jurisdictions

The Kativik Regional Police Force faces a staff shortage after losing 16 officers in the past 6 weeks. (Jacques Racine/Radio-Canada)

The Kativik Regional Police Force (KRPF) is facing a staff shortage after losing more than a dozen officers over the past six weeks.

During that time, 16 officers resigned from the force for policing jobs in other jurisdictions, said Jennifer Munick, chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government, which oversees the police force.

She said the loss has had a negative impact on force and the communities they police.

"We're trying to look at different practices so that this doesn't happen in the future," Munick said. "It's very stressful on the whole headquarters and police officers and our communities and our people."

The KRPF is responsible for policing in 14 Nunavik communities. Munick said Nunavik police officers are in high demand with police forces in other jurisdictions because of their training in the North.

Munick said the chief of police with the KRPF asked for help from provincial police. The Sûreté du Québec agreed to send 24 replacement officers to Nunavik to help cover 11 of the smaller communities.

Munick declined to say how many police officers remain on duty with the KRPF, but said smaller communities typically have two or three officers each.

She said help from the Sûreté du Québec is not a long term solution. Ideally the regional police force would recruit more Indigenous people. 

"We're always looking to recruit and train our people to be police officers in our community," She said. "We don't have many Inuit police officers. It's really unfortunate that it's a difficult process."

Munick said the KRPF is now recruiting in police colleges and other provinces. 

The Quebec Ministry of Public Security was not immediately available for comment.

With files from Spencer Van Dyk