Mounties challenge claim that carbines are in every patrol vehicle
An RCMP vehicle sits guarding Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 7, 2010. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, February 25, 2016 1:10PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 25, 2016 3:44PM EST
MONCTON, N.B. -- The RCMP in New Brunswick is misleading the public with the claim that every patrol vehicle in the province has a carbine firearm, say Mounties who have yet to be trained on the high-powered weapon and cannot use it.
Two members at different detachments in New Brunswick, who said they can't speak publicly about issues within the force, were responding to comments by Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown who recently said there was a carbine in every police car.
"To me it seemed like an outright lie to the public to say, 'Yep, we've got it, it's all under control,"' one officer said in an interview.
"I'm sitting in my patrol car right now and there's no carbine. I have the shotgun. No one on my team has access to the carbine right now, so it's there but nobody can use it."
The officers say they have access to the guns in their offices, but they or their colleagues can't use them because they haven't received the required training.
That means they and many of the officers in their districts can't go out on calls with the weapons, which the force pledged to roll out after Justin Bourque gunned down three RCMP members in Moncton in 2014.
Another officer in a different New Brunswick detachment also said he has access to the carbines, but sometimes fewer than half the people he works with on a shift are trained on how to use it.
"There might be a carbine for every car, but you can't put a carbine in every car if the member's not trained," he said. "A carbine in every car? That's not the case."
RCMP spokeswoman Jullie Rogers-Marsh said there are enough carbines for the provincial force, but their use depends on the nature of the police call and if a member is trained.
"They wouldn't necessarily be in every car depending on whose on shift and the operational need, but we do have the capability of having a carbine in every patrol vehicle," she said.
"It doesn't mean that that's what's happening."
The provision of the C8 carbine, a high-powered assault rifle, became a central part of the fallout of the Moncton shootings after officers said they were outgunned by Bourque because they did not have any carbines, which have greater range and firepower than a pistol.
Retired assistant commissioner Alphonse MacNeil, who issued 64 recommendations in the wake of the Moncton shootings, said the carbine could have made a difference in that incident and they should be rolled out faster.
Earlier this month, the force said it has completed 42 of the 64 recommendations in MacNeil's 2015 report. It said more than 3,300 RCMP officers across Canada have been trained in the use of the carbine and that number is expected to double over the next year.
Nearly 4,000 carbines have been acquired so far and the force says it expects 50 per cent of officers will be trained on them by April 2017. Brown would not divulge how many carbines he now has for use in New Brunswick.
Rob Creasser of the Mounted Police Professional Association said Brown's comment leads the public to believe that every officer on the road has a carbine at their disposal.
Creasser, a retired RCMP member, said the availability of the weapons and training has been too slow, particularly since a 2011 fatality inquiry report into the deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta., recommended an expedited rollout.
"The only good thing that would have come out of those deaths would have been that the RCMP learned something," he said. "And it appears they haven't."