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Kativik Police Chief threatens to hand over policing of Nunavik to province

first_imgTom FennarioAPTN NewsKativik Regional Police Chief Jean-Pierre Larose drew a line in the sand Thursday and warned the Canada and Quebec needed to increase the amount of money his force gets for face the consequences.“Mr. Commissioner, I have to tell you, we’re not even at five minutes to midnight, we are at one minute to midnight,” Larose told the Quebec Inquiry into Indigenous Relations with Certain Public Services in Kuujjuuaq QC.“Unfortunately, if we do not have an agreement before Christmas, I will be obligated to go to the Sûreté du Québec [Quebec Provincial Police] to take on the task of public security in Nunavik.”The Kativik police have been working without a funding agreement since April.Larose said negotiations with Quebec and Canada on a trilateral policing agreement are going nowhere.“They said to me, that ‘your demands are good, we understand it’s a must’. Okay, good, so where’s the money?” said a clearly frustrated Larose.During almost three hours of testimony, representatives from Kativik police outlined poor working conditions for many of their officers.The vast region of Nunavik has astronomical crime rates for a small population of 13,000 spread out over fourteen communities and Larose said they need thirty more officers to properly police the region.Last year they paid out 33,000 hours of overtime – the equivalent of 16 full time officers.“There are periods that are inhumane, of keeping a security perimeter in the cold, in difficult conditions, 12, 13, 15 hours, sometimes longer,” said Larose.Over the last two weeks the Quebec inquiry has heard many negative stories about the Kativik police.Accusations of police brutality, over policing of probation conditions, neglecting duties, and in the case of one former officer, a 2002 incident where he had to arrest a co-worker for domestic violence, have all been put on the record.“One supervisor was asking me to produce a report to send to the DPCP [crown attorneys] as soon as possible, and the other one was asking me to kind of like, stop the thing, to cover it up so it doesn’t have any repercussions on the police services so I was kind of stuck between both those supervisors,” testified Jean-Mathieu Lafleur, who worked as an Kativik officer for 14 years.Lafleur also testified to dangerous working conditions, including having to respond to an armed stand-off without a weapon of his own and another incident that left him with a stab wound in the stomach.He said he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.But Kativik police aren’t the only ones on the receiving end of violence.Since July 2016 officers on the force have killed or seriously injured people at over fifty times the rate of Montreal police.“I am very concerned by the use of firearms,” said Larose about his officers.He said Taser training is ongoing and other forms of less lethal force are being looked into.However, Larose said that the greatest challenge is the high turnover rate of officers, which leads to about half of Kativik’s patrolling officers having less than a year of experience.“Are they ready to experience everything they’re going to see here, in their first year of experience?” asked Paul Crépeau, a prosecutor for the Quebec inquiry.“Unfortunately they’re not ready,” replied Larose without hesitation.When queried about discipline issues on the force, Larose said he’s fired three officers since he was hired in February.He’s also open to calls for Inuktitut translators or representatives to help deescalate frequent armed stand offs, in order to offset the lack of Inuit officers on the force (three of 48 officers are Inuit).“The Inuit, they want to be part of the solution, and I believe in that and I want them to participate with us in all the issues,” Larose told APTN News.Larose plans on meeting with the community of Inukjuak their first week of December to discuss policing in the [email protected]@tfennariolast_img


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