Band Constable Program FAQ
Q1 What is the Band Constable Program (BCP)?
A1 The Band Constable Program (BCP) was a 100% funded federal contribution program created in the 1960s. Pursuant to the BCP, the federal government provided a limited amount of contribution funding ($2.1M in total for 2014-2015) to 45 First Nation communities, most of which were located in Manitoba, to hire band constables. There were 34 agreements in Manitoba, five in New Brunswick, and six in Alberta. Band constables were not police officers; they served as a community-based, non-policing presence to assist provincial police and enforce band by-laws.
Q2 Why did the Government decide to terminate the BCP?
A2 The Band Constable Program (BCP) was inconsistent with the core principles of the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNPP). As a result, a decision was made to terminate the BCP on March 31, 2015 in order to focus federal funding on professional policing through fully trained and certified police officers. The BCP was a small program that was not safely or effectively meeting the policing needs of First Nation communities in Manitoba, Alberta and New Brunswick. Considerable concern and displeasure was expressed by the communities who had been participating in the former Band Constable Program.
Q3 How was the previous BCP funding reinvested?
A3 The same level of Band Constable Program (BCP) federal funding was maintained in each of the three jurisdictions. In two jurisdictions the reinvestment of the funds was to support the following initiatives:
- The First Nation Safety Officers (FNSO) in Manitoba, created to cover the gap created by the termination of the Band Constable Program. The current agreement is in place from April 01, 2016 to March 31, 2021 provides funding for training, equipment and salaries. Once the FNSOP’s are trained, it is the responsibility of the First Nation to cover the ongoing operating costs and salaries for FNSO’s in their respective communities.
- The Community Program Officers for Indigenous Communities Program (CPOI) in New Brunswick. The Province matches this funding at 48% to support five Community Program Officers. 14 of the 15 First Nations in the province currently benefit from services provided under this program. The CPOIs are civilian program officers employed by the RCMP, and focused exclusively on crime prevention and reduction and community engagement. They serve an important liaison function between police and community and work to enhance community-police relations.
Q4 Does the FNPP support other types of Alternative Service Delivery Models?
A4 The First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNPP) is a contribution program administered by Public Safety Canada that provides financial contributions in support of professional, dedicated and responsive policing services to First Nation and Inuit communities. Financial contributions under the Program are shared by the federal government at 52% of eligible costs, with the province or territory covering the remaining 48%.
There are two main types of policing models available for funding under the Program: (1) Self-administered police service Agreements, where a First Nation or Inuit community manages its own police service, consistent with provincial legislation, and (2) Community Tripartite Agreements, where a contingent of police officers from an existing police service, typically the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), provides dedicated policing services to a First Nation or Inuit community.
At present, there are two other alternative delivery pilots funded by Public Safety:
- The Community Safety Officers (CSO) in Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Canada and Yukon agreed to cost share the extension of the pilot for two years and Public Safety is contributing $208,000 per year for 2019-20 and 2020-21. If successful, the pilot would demonstrate an alternative hybrid model combining regular policing service supported by Community Safety Officers. The RCMP has signaled that the CSO Program has been instrumental in enhancing community safety.
- The United Chiefs and Councils of the Mnidoo Mnising Anishnaabe Policing Services Agreement (UCCM) in Ontario. This project provided funding for a Social Worker to connect and support at-risk individuals and/or repeat offenders with appropriate services. “Social Navigator” was originally funded under First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNPP) as a pilot program beginning in 2015 and was rolled in to the Self-Administered Police Agreement in 2018.
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