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Editorials Globe editorial: The RCMP is never going to fix itself. Only Ottawa can end the abuses

A new report makes very plain what many have suspected for years: that the RCMP is incapable of ending decades of abusive mismanagement on its own, and that only the intervention of the federal government can turn things around now.

The report by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP concludes that workplace bullying and harassment in the force are persistent symptoms of a "dysfunctional organizational culture" and that, after more than 15 reviews and 200 recommendations to fix the problems, "senior leaders in the RCMP have demonstrated an inability and/or unwillingness to make the organizational changes required to effect the needed cultural change."

It is sickening to read about how RCMP officers are treated by their superiors. Managers gang up on members they don't like, and ridicule them verbally in private and in public. They deny them resources, honours and perks, and give them poor performance reviews that are unwarranted.

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The report also says that female members continue to be targeted for sexual harassment but don't report it for fear of reprisal.

The toxic culture has persisted for decades, and it comes from the top down. The report points out that officers rise through the ranks into management positions, such as human relations, for which they have no training. They also come with their own baggage as long-time members, and are unwilling to change the culture that created them.

The competence and the will to reform the force simply don't exist inside the RCMP. As the report recommends, Ottawa needs to immediately separate the operational roles in the RCMP from the administrative ones, and give the administrative jobs to civilians trained in those areas. Numerous police departments and the Canadian Armed Forces have bifurcated divisions of responsibility, and there is no reason to believe that a similar structure wouldn't be workable in the RCMP.

But this long-overdue change won't happen until Ottawa finally accepts the hard truth that the RCMP cannot and will not heal itself. The well-documented evidence is clear and undeniable. From here on in, any continued abuses in the ranks of the Mounties will be on the heads of governments that fail to take the obvious steps required to end them.

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