Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Police officers: recruitment exceeds training capacity

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The Quebec National Police Academy in Nicolet has almost doubled its training capacity to meet the recruitment needs of the province's police services.

  • Pascal Robidas (View profile)Pascal Robidas

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The needs in terms of police recruitment, both at the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) and at the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) or within municipal bodies, are so important that the School National Police of Quebec (ENPQ) is not able to meet the demand.

There are 31 police forces in the recruitment in Quebec. The SQ alone is looking for 1,600 new police officers to replenish its ranks by 2027, not only in Greater Montreal, but everywhere else in the province.

The pressure has therefore never been so strong on the shoulders of the director general of the ENPQ, Pierre St-Antoine, and his institution, which has the exclusive responsibility of training police officers in Quebec.

When we do the evaluation to know how far we can go to the point of breaking and saturation to train with quality, coherence, relevance of future police officers, the number 1000 was adopted. […] It is clear that the 1000 does not meet the current needs of police forces, admits Mr. St-Antoine.

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The director general of the National Police Academy of Quebec, Pierre St-Antoine, has initiated plans to expand the institution. He is seen here observing the police training on foot pursuit.

You know, there comes a time when this n&#x27 It's more about money. It's a question of skill set. If other police forces are experiencing manpower problems, our institution is also experiencing them, he adds.

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When I am asked to produce humans with quality, I know that, as a school, with the human, technical, technological and expertise resources, it is the 1000 which responds to the capacity to give this quality.

A quote from Pierre St-Antoine, director general of the National Police Academy of Quebec

The ENPQ is also responsible for training future agents of indigenous police forces, correctional services officers, Montreal metro constables, in addition to having quadrupled the number of special constables trained to work in courthouses.

Last year, the Ministry of Public Security granted an envelope of $62 million over five years to the ENPQ.

For the first time in its history, ENPQ has expanded its activities outside its Nicolet campus, in Center-du-Québec. A training center for correctional services officers was inaugurated in Laval. Another to train police officers in specialized investigations is about to open its doors in Montreal.

Minister François Bonnardel is confident about the results to come. We are giving ourselves a horizon of four to five years to fill the missing positions, he said.

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Minister François Bonnardel granted more than $62 million to the ENPQ to invest in hiring staff, acquiring additional spaces for training and technological rejuvenation of equipment.

The hiring waves could therefore fade in the medium term. But until then, the reality of retirements spares no police force in Quebec, in seduction mode to attract the best recruits.

When I arrived, I realized that we were going to lack police officers, like in several professions in Quebec. We had several police positions to fill. We are still talking about more than 1000 positions to be filled [vacant] currently, specifies Minister Bonnardel.

Within the provincial police alone, 1,013 police officers have retired from the SQ since 2019. The trend will accelerate in the coming years with the early departure to the retirement of 964 additional police officers, explains Pascal Rheault, captain and head of the SQ Recruitment Service.

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I have retirements every month, so I don't have much room for maneuver in terms of the police officers who arrive and have to enter the units, illustrates Captain Rheault, responsible for a of the most ambitious recruitment campaigns at the SQ in recent years, called Become who you are, carried out in particular on social networks.

Through online platforms , the general management of the SQ therefore wants to address police recruits directly. They come from Generation Z who, for the first time in several years, are spoiled for choice where to pursue a career in the police.

What we offer them at the SQ is a career perspective. We offer them a range of opportunities that sets us apart from other organizations. […] We want to tell them that we are an environment, a proactive organization, to enable them to develop, and to take care of them, he specifies.

The number of candidates is very limited. And we try to have our lion's share of that.

A quote from Pascal Rheault, captain and head of the Recruitment Department at the SQ

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Captain Pascal Rheault, responsible for recruitment at the SQ, welcomes a new cohort who have recently graduated from the National Police Academy of Quebec in Nicolet.

The provincial police are therefore engaged in a race against time.

The expression is really good. I do not have a bank of candidates who are not currently serving. I don't have a list from which I can draw endlessly whenever I need to, says Pascal Rheault.

Quebec has approximately 15,000 officers in 31 police forces. The Sûreté du Québec represents 36% of the agents, the municipal bodies, approximately 35%, while 29% of the police officers work at the SPVM, on the island of Montreal.

The SPVM management has a hiring target of 438 police officers, higher than that of the SQ in the region. This target for the Montreal police is a minimum hiring which only allows it to maintain its workforce in place, depending on departures and early retirements.

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The director of the SPVM, Fady Dagher, made recruitment his priority when he took office. Like the SQ, the Montreal police are engaged in a race against time to replenish their ranks which are affected by mass retirements.

It must therefore hire 295 new police officers by December 31, in addition to the 143 already recruited so that the number of police officers does not decrease in the Quebec metropolis.

According to data as of March 18, the SPVM had 4,629 permanent police officers in its employ.

Recall that director Fady Dagher aims to not only maintain his police force, but to increase them by 225 agents by 2028.

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