The provincial government has launched an initiative, which, it expects, will shape the future of policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador.
At an event this afternoon at The Rooms in St. John’s, Justice and Public Safety Minister John Hogan announced the launch of The Policing Transformation Working Group.
The group’s mandate is to evaluate the current provincial policing model, conduct public engagement and provide ongoing advice to ensure residents receive the most effective and efficient policing services possible. It will consider best practices in other jurisdictions and the community safety need of all people and groups who reside in Newfoundland and Labrador, including urban, rural, Labrador, racialized and Indigenous communities.
“In light of the evolving dialogue about policing here and throughout the country, now is the time to evaluate and inform the province’s current policing model,” Hogan said.
Led by an executive with broad senior-level government experience, this multi-year initiative features a team of individuals with extensive operational and strategic expertise in police services. Members of the group are executive lead Andrea McKenna, who has two decades of senior-level public administration experience; project manager Kim Harding, who has represented the RNC on a variety of national committees and working groups; reitred RCMP officer Pete McKay; and RNC Insp. Andrew Warren, who has served in numerous leadership roles with the force over the years. The group will report to the Deputy Minister of Justice and Public Safety or designate.
The creation of the group is in response to the increasing complexity of crime over the last number of years. Emerging provincial police trends and topics informing the scope and timing of the initiative include evolving profile of crime, oversight and accountability, technological advancements, delivery of services to rural and remote communities and recruitment, training and retention.
“This is welcomed news,” RNC Chief Pat Roche said. “This review will help shape the future of policing in the province and ultimately lead to improved services for all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
RCMP Chief Superintendent Pat Cahill said, “We welcome and fully support a policing review and look forward to being actively engaged throughout the process as we work toward our shared goal of a sustainable and modernized policing model.”
Such initiatives are a growing trend across Canada. Reports published in the last five years, such as the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission report and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report, have both called for government to rethink the delivery of policing services.
While provincial police services operate independently from the provincial government, the justice and public safety minister maintains responsibility and authority for the administration of justice within the province.
NTV’s Bailey Howard is covering the story and will have more on the NTV Evening Newshour.