Summary of the Evaluation of the Akwesasne Organized Crime Initiative
About the program
- The Akwesasne Mohawk Territory includes land on both sides of the St. Lawrence and straddles the Ontario-Quebec interprovincial boundary and the Canada-United States international border. Given the location and access to water, the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory has been identified by law enforcement agencies as an illegal transit point for many commodities, including contraband tobacco. Criminal organizations operating in and around the Akwesasne territory have historically sought to exploit the geographic location.
- Since Akwesasne straddles multiple jurisdictions, responding to this criminal activity requires law enforcement agencies to work together.
- The Initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) to enable it to participate in a Joint Investigative Team (JIT) that includes the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies operating in the area. Public Safety provides funds to AMPS to facilitate this inter-agency cooperation.
- The main objective of the JIT is to investigate and disrupt organized criminal activity in and around Akwesasne. Currently, the Initiative provides funding to support up to eleven full time officers in the AMPS JIT unit (AMPS-JIT).
What we examined
- The evaluation assessed the Initiative’s achievement of outcomes, design and delivery, and the efficiency and economy of program administration.
- The evaluation covered the period from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2018.
What we found
- The AMPS work on the JIT is seen by law enforcement partners as a vital asset in combatting organized criminal activities in and around Akwesasne. AMPS-JIT participation in joint investigations has led to the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of contraband items and multiple arrests and convictions. The Initiative is meeting the financial need for AMPS members to participate in joint operations with law enforcement partners through the JIT, both in Canada and the United States. However, other capacity-related barriers exist, such as the recruitment of specialized police officers, which prevents AMPS’ full participation in the JIT.
- Concerns were raised regarding reporting requirements and usefulness of performance measures, along with the impact of the length of the contribution agreements.
- Challenges in administrative roles and responsibilities were experienced by both the recipient and the program. Opportunities for coordination between the Initiative and First Nations Policing Program were identified.
The Assistant Deputy Minister of the Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch should:
- Continue to support the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service in building their capacity to ensure their full participation on the Joint Investigative Team and contribution to the disruption of organized crime in and around Akwesasne.
- Identify the appropriate funding mechanism (e.g. multi-year contribution agreement or grant) to support the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service’s sustained long-term participation in the Joint Investigative Team.
- Explore opportunities to streamline administrative requirements for the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service and internal PS practices to increase efficiency and address existing burdens on both the recipient and PS staff. This could include revising reporting requirements and increasing coordination with other programs.
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