The Newfoundland and Labrador government has established a working group to review the province’s police services with the goal of making them more effective.
The four-person working group will work with the Department of Justice and Public Safety’s policing and crime prevention team to evaluate the current policing model and make recommendations.
Justice Minister John Hogan said he believes now is the right time for such a review.
“Policing has changed, crime has changed. It’s getting more complex. The world has changed,” Hogan said Monday.
“I think we need to do that review and hear different points of view from people throughout this province and policing agencies, not only in this province but the country, to see what the right model is going forward.”
The working group will be led by Andrea McKenna, who has held several executive positions in provincial government departments, according to a press release. The rest of the group will be made up by another government executive and one member each from the RCMP and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
The group will explore emerging police trends in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada, including the evolving profile of crime, oversight and accountability and advancements in technology, according to the release.
RNC Chief Pat Roche said Monday he welcomes a review and new ideas.
“We have to be constantly moving forward in a very aggressive manner to stay ahead of these new sorts of crimes that are happening,” Roche said.
“Police have been criticized for staying the same way in how we respond and what services we provide. We need to get back to the grassroots of providing policing services and what we are trained to provide.”
RCMP Chief Supt. Pat Cahill said he’s keen to work toward modernizing police services and helping the most residents possible.
“The goal is to find the most efficient and effective police, you know, the model that we want to serve.”
WATCH | N.L. announces sweeping review of police services:
Featured VideoThe Newfoundland and Labrador government has created a working group to look at its current policing model, what needs to be done to make it more efficient, and what other jurisdictions are doing. Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Pat Roche says it’s time to get back to the foundations of policing.
Hogan said the working group hasn’t been given any timelines for their work but will have short-term and long-term goals.
“As they come up, and we need to implement them, we’ll be able to do that,” he said.
Two topics that could be looked at, Hogan said, are civilian oversight and the public complaints process.
The announcement of the group comes as the provincial government is reviewing the provincial police public service agreement with the RCMP, which expires in 2032.
Hogan said Newfoundland and Labrador is thankful to have two police forces that complement each other, and a transformation of police services likely won’t mean having just one police force in the province.