First Nations Chiefs of Police, Call For First Nations Policing To Be Entrenched As An Essential Service
The “Benign Neglect” of Policing is Failing First Nations Communities
At their Annual General Meeting in Toronto October 17-18, 2017 the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association (FNCPA) unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Government of Canada and its Provincial partners “to entrench First Nations Policing as an essential service,” provide adequate human resources, infrastructure, and operations and maintenance resources, and “sufficient, predictable and sustained funding that meets the unique needs of each department.”
“First Nations communities require and deserve stable, adequately funded policing services that are comparable to those provided to other communities in Canada,” said FNCPA President, Dwayne Zacharie. “The current First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) is failing First Nations communities by creating unsafe situations for officers and community members.”
A recent independent research report, “‘Set up to fail?’ An analysis of self-administered indigenous police services in Canada” found that Self-Administered First Nations Police Services have been facing a number of serious challenges including limited funds for required equipment, low pay, high personnel turnover, some of the highest crime rates with the lowest number of officers, inadequate infrastructure, declining rates of Indigenous officers, and a lack of stable and consistent funding. The report (found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15614263.2017.1363973?journalCode=gppr20) was released in August 2017. It concluded that that “the administration of the FNPP over the past quarter- century is one of benign neglect; that by doing nothing or ignoring the problem, the challenges confronting Indigenous policing would somehow manage or resolve themselves. This status of benign neglect is in keeping with a long history of promising much, but delivering little to Indigenous peoples.”
The findings in this report are consistent with other studies and reports listed on Public Safety Canada’s Indigenous Policing webpage, including an earlier research study “Illustrative Case Studies of First Nations Policing Program Models” commissioned by Public Safety, prepared by the same researchers, and released in 2016. This earlier study found that Self-Administered police services have a funding model that is “inconsistent with how budgets are most appropriately set and applied” and that the First Nations Policing Program needs to be modernized to better serve the public safety needs of Indigenous communities across Canada.
“We’re asking for the same recognition, resourcing, and support as other policing services in Canada,” said Zacharie. “First Nations policing needs to be deemed an essential service like all other community policing services across the country.”
The First Nations Chiefs of Police Association represents and advocates for Self Administered First Nations policing in Canada by advancing and expanding innovative methods to enhance First Nations safety and wellness while respecting and reflecting our communities’ unique cultural and traditional values.