RCMP Frontline Members are expressing numerous concerns about access to protective supplies, equipment and practices to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 during their day-to-day duties, says National Police Federation (NPF).
“Our members interact closely and frequently with the general public and this lack of resources and response puts both our officers and the public at risk,” NPF says.
Following are some areas of concern for NPF which has asked RCMP management to ensure RCMP members and public are protected from COVID-19 pandemic:
Lack of access and sufficient quantities of nitrile gloves, approved face masks, and even disinfectant.
Concerns regarding decontamination supplies and process related to clothing, vehicles, offices, and cell areas.
Family-related issues in managing shared responsibilities related to school closures.
Travel-related quarantines for members returning from vacation and cross-border residency.
Inconsistent messaging and support from management across the country.
“The NPF is calling on RCMP management to keep Members and, by extension, the public safe during this extraordinary and rapidly-evolving situation,” said Brian Sauvé, President, National Police Federation. “This includes ensuring National, Divisional, District and Detachment emergency plans are put in place to properly manage both equipment and resources.”
The executive of the National Police Federation is engaging directly with RCMP senior management to ensure members’ concerns are being taken seriously and that the proper equipment is obtained and made readily available over a potentially sustained period of time.
“As first responders, our members cannot voluntarily self-isolate unless they exhibit symptoms or have direct exposure to COVID-19, so these protective measures are critical to their ongoing health and ability to serve their communities,” NPF says.
NPF was certified in the summer of 2019 to represent nearly 20,000 RCMP members serving across Canada and internationally, and its elected national Board of Directors confirmed in early 2020. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada and the second largest in North America. It is the first independent national association to represent RCMP members.