Police agreement signed
Attorney general, RCMP commissioner gather in Rankin for historical event

Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 09/98) - The RCMP agreement for Nunavut signed in Rankin Inlet last week is expected to provide a police force more culturally sensitive to foster closer ties with the community.

Interim Commissioner Jack Anawak sees the agreement as an opportunity to make important strides in policing.

"There have been times in the past when relations between the community and the police haven't been the best...," he said. "This is the start of something new."

Also present for the signing ceremony were Attorney General Andy Scott, RCMP Commissioner Phil Murray, as well as Chris Bothe, the commanding officer for Nunavut's "V" division of the RCMP.

Scott said the new agreement provides an opportunity to try new community policing initiatives that have close ties with the people of Nunavut and their traditions.

"Today is an historical event here in Canada," he said. "The RCMP is the police service of choice of the people of Nunavut and the RCMP wants to take this opportunity to break new ground in policing with the Inuit people. It will define specific approaches that work for the people in the region."

As head of the RCMP across the country, Murray has given full authority over to the new division's officer in charge to make improvements in the policing services.

"It's a new opportunity to redefine the RCMP service in Nunavut," he said. "The RCMP will continue to compete for the respect of the people."

The first of some 200 inter-governmental agreements to be signed for the creation of Nunavut, the policing services are expected to take effect April 1, 1999, with 112 RCMP officers (six Inuit) in 22 detachments. Under the agreement, the Nunavut government will fund 70 per cent of the costs while the federal government will cover the remaining 30 per cent.

The agreement was signed after the Nunavut Implementation Commission passed a unanimous vote earlier this year to ensure that the RCMP would continue providing policing services after division.

Anawak said priority has been given to establishing those agreements with public health and safety implications.