RCMP struggling with police services funding gap
The RCMP is cutting spending on investigations and enforcement to cover a growing federal funding shortfall for national police services such as fingerprint identification, the sex offender registry, Canadian Police College and DNA data bank.
These are among the findings of interim auditor general John Wiersema. His office found that this year alone, the Mounties had to trim spending on all their programs by more than 10 per cent in order to cover the funding gap.
For example, the RCMP's Federal and International Operations Directorate, responsible for investigating organized crime, drug enforcement and money laundering, has had to cut spending by $47.7 million in order to subsidize national police services.
The RCMP administers the services but they are overwhelmingly used by municipal and provincial police forces across Canada.
Wiersema says the RCMP has not adequately calculated the cost of each service and in some cases is undercharging provinces.
Earlier this year, CBC News reported on the multimillion-dollar funding shortfall for national police services and even then, the RCMP low-balled how much it was spending from its own budget.
Wiersema recommends the Mounties and government come up with cheaper and more efficient ways of delivering national police services.
The auditor general also explored waiting times for these services.
Wiersema says waiting times for processing at the RCMP's forensic labs is down. However, it now takes 27 days to add new criminal records to the national database and up to three years to update an existing one. In fact, Wiersema says the backlog in outstanding criminal record updates is now 1.4 million pages.
He says the new Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification system should reduce the wait and backlog but it also went roughly $130 million over budget and took years longer than expected.
The RCMP and Department of Public Safety say they accept all of the auditor general’s recommendations for improvement.