RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson referenced the Mounties’ decision to give rifles to more frontline officers as he expressed fears Monday about the increasing militarization of Canadian police forces.
Appearing before the Senate national security committee, Paulson said he wants his officers to have the best equipment possible to uphold the law as well as protect the public and themselves.
But he said he is “afraid of the trend in policing for escalating military-style tools being used by law enforcement to conduct police operations.”
The result is a focus on enforcement and an increased reliance on force, Paulson said, “rather than the problem-solving, community-oriented, prevention approach that is better suited to the Canadian context.”
The commissioner admitted the Mounties have no shortage of heavy weaponry, including armoured vehicles, drones and machine-guns.
More frontline officers are also being armed with carbine rifles, which was one of a number of recommendations that came out after the shooting deaths of three Mounties in Moncton, N.B., in 2014