NNSL Photo/Graphic


Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

RCMP swamped with criminal record checks

Simon Whitehouse
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The RCMP is attempting to prioritize criminal records checks due to the amount of requests it receives, Insp. Dave Elliott told city council during a monthly report at the municipal services committee earlier this month.

He told council there were 312 requests in November and that he is concerned about the amount of time people may have to wait. As a result, he is asking those seeking checks for employment or volunteer positions to be as patient as possible.

"We are getting so many of them that we want to make sure we don't affect someone's ability to get a job or someone who needs it for a kid's trip next week," said Elliott.

As it stands, clerks in the detachment office receive people on a walk-in basis to have criminal records checks on a first-come, first-served basis. The office is open for this purpose on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Elliott said the clerks are receiving more than 10 requests a day.

In addition, there are about 50 people a month needing to be fingerprinted, which also happens in the detachment office.

Fingerprinting is required if an applicant has had a pardon in the past or shares the same date of birth as someone with a pardon. This prevents a child predator from simply changing their name and getting a clear record.

"This is something that wasn't around very much 10 years ago, but it has increased ... for various reasons whether it be due to lawsuits or people getting around the system and into organizations looking after kids."

There is a scanner at the detachment where prints are taken electronically before being sent to the central office in Ottawa. Applicants then receive the results in five to 10 days.

Elliott said the Yellowknife office has faced an increased demand in this area because of more organizations in town, especially those dealing with seniors and children.

"It is not so much office hours that we are concerned about and we can handle it right now for fingerprinting," said Elliott. "It is just the support services on that end of it because it takes a lot of resources to do that."

Elliott said he wants to just inform council of some of the demands at the detachment in case people are complaining to them about the amount of time it takes for people to get their requests processed.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.