Nova Scotia announces review of provincial policing structure — six months after release of Mass Casualty Commission report

In April 2020, a mass shooting that spanned several locales took the lives of nearly two-dozen Canadians, sparking a ravenous debate on stricter gun control legislation and police reform.

Nova Scotia announces review of provincial policing structure — six months after release of Mass Casualty Commission report
Facebook/Halifax Regional Police
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Nova Scotia is joining a long list of provinces who have commenced a comprehensive review of its policing structure — but for this Maritime province, the reasons hit closer to home than most.

In April 2020, a mass shooting that spanned several locales took the lives of nearly two-dozen Canadians, sparking a ravenous debate on stricter gun control legislation and prospective police reform.

Six months ago, Nova Scotia released its final report on the Mass Casualty Commission (MCC), making 130 recommendations including a new council to review its policing structure.

There are currently 10 municipal police forces in the province, with the RCMP serving as its provincial police agency.

On September 29, the Nova Scotia government updated residents on the need for an external review. 

A news release said the consultant will work alongside a police review advisory committee, "which will include people from equity-deserving groups, the provincial government, police agencies, subject matter experts and diverse community representatives."

The province named Clare MacLellan, a retired Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice, and Hayley Crichton, a public safety executive with the Justice Department, as the committee co-chairs.

A spokesperson to the advisory committee told the CBC their next course of action is to choose its members. They expect to complete their efforts by 2025, where they will unveil how policing services may differ in their delivery.

"We are committed to making our communities safer, and a big part of that work is ensuring our policing services are effective, efficient and structured in a way that best serves Nova Scotians," Justice Minister Brad Johns said in a news release.

Also on September 29, the RCMP announced it met the prescribed timelines of two recommendations listed in the mass casualty report.

The police service delivered an external review of frontline supervisor training on September 27 — that has yet to be released publicly — amid its ongoing assessment of how they manage critical incidents.

"The RCMP is currently reviewing this report, and preparing a work plan to implement its recommendations," they said in a statement posted on its website. "Taken together, this work will […] improve [our] overall approach to managing crises." 

The second recommendation concerns management culture in the force that better explains how they elect, develop, recognize and reward commissioned officers and their civilian equivalents.

The RCMP published that report to its website on September 29, with a formal action plan "to foster a healthy management culture […] and to better equip officers and executives to develop as senior leaders within the organization."

The police force intends to release its mass casualty action plan later this year.

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