RCMP officer's death renews calls for mandatory backup

Mounties shouldn't work alone in high-risk situations: labour rep

After two RCMP officers have been killed in the past month while working alone in the North, there has been renewed calls to make it mandatory for officers to have backup in more situations.

RCMP Const. Douglas Scott, 20, was fatally shot on Nov. 5 while responding to an impaired driving call in the small Baffin Island hamlet of Kimmirut, Nunavut. Less than one month earlier, Const. Christopher Worden, 30, was killed while answering a call in Hay River, N.W.T.

The RCMP and the staff relations program has been working on a policy to expand the circumstances in which backup is mandatory for lone officers going into uncertain or dangerous situations. Currently, the decision to call for backup is left to the officer's discretion.

The staff relations program, which handles labour relations for the force's 20,000 rank-and-file members, has been working for 10 years to take that discretion away from members. There should be a specific, scripted policy that tells officers they must take backup with them, said Staff Sgt. Brian Roach, a national executive member of the program.

The new policy dictates the scenarios under which backup would be mandatory, Roach said. The policy could be approved at a high-level meeting with management in December.

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