Quebec provincial police to help fill gap left by Nunavik officer shortage

“This is an issue for me every day,” says Nunavik Police Service chief

The Nunavik Police Service went from an almost full complement of 86 officers in February to just 66 this month, says Chief Jean-Pierre Larose. (File photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Sarah Rogers

Quebec provincial police will help staff Nunavik communities this spring.

The Sûreté du Québec will temporarily assign 20 of its officers to work in the region starting this week while the Nunavik Police Service deals with an officer shortage.

The NPS went from an almost-full complement of 86 officers in February to just 66 this month, said Chief Jean-Pierre Larose.

“It’s the same problem we have every year,” Larose said. “I’ve lost a number of my officers to organizations in the south who recruit for the summer.”

And with COVID-19 restrictions in place, Quebec’s police training school in Nicolet has offered fewer programs over the past year, he said.

Starting March 24, the NPS will assign one or two SQ officers to each of Nunavik’s 14 communities to work alongside officers already stationed there.

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Regardless of the SQ presence, the NPS remains the agency that manages policing in the region, Larose said.

The region has called on the SQ for staffing support before, most recently in 2019. Those officers stayed in Nunavik for about three months.

In the meantime, the NPS will focus on recruitment activities to hire a full staff again, but Larose said that will require some creative thinking.

Over the last 12 months, Larose said he’s seen 53 officers rotate in and out of the agency.

“This is an issue for me every day,” he said. “We want to have stability in our communities.”

In recent years, the NPS has looked to hiring retired officers in Quebec and hosting nine-month-long internships for Montreal police officers to give them northern experience. The agency has also recruited from police colleges in Ontario and the Maritimes.

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Now, Larose said he’s approached Quebec’s ministry of public security with a proposal to create an agreement that would allow the agency to recruit directly from police training schools.

“We’re very restrained. We have to find a way to allow us to hire,” he said. “They’ve said they’re open to discussing this.”

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunavik Inuk on

    Would not need so many cop but for all the alcohol abuse.

    • Posted by The alcohol babysitter on

      Alcohol is the problem. Police spend all their time babysitting the alcohol intoxicated. NPS need to acknowledge and address the shortage of police due to the debilitating task of dealing with drunks 24/7. It rots the moral right out of policing. It becomes the same old routine with the revolving door syndrome. Same old. Policing is an interesting career in our society , but some places like Nunavik itsnn by just a babysitters role for the intoxicated.

  2. Posted by Not perfect eh? on

    Back when the public was in outrage but a drunk getting a minor bump by RCMP in Nunavut there were references to how great policing is in Nunavik by comparison. I guess the program is not so great after all.

    • Posted by UNGAVA on

      Same old story , where alcohol is drunk, in my town , a couple had their young kids taken in to foster care , one is in jail , the other is on a non stop bender, sad sad .

  3. Posted by Who wants to work there? on

    Let’s face it. Who wants to work at a job where the main objective is arresting and or dealing with the intoxicated, day in day out? That’s the story of police work in Nunavik. Don’t expect any police, Inuit or non Inuit to stay with NPS for any length of time. Until the issues with alcohol are dealt with, or until the cows come home, or the caribou herd returns. This is nothing new, and worse, no change coming soon.

  4. Posted by Lack insight on

    It’s more or less about the alcohol crisis in Nunavik. More so about the lack of insight into the alcohol crisis in Nunavik. We got many people in key positions that believe somehow that the alcohol crisis will somehow go away on its own, or they don’t care, and issues such as shortages of professionals are not related to that alcohol crisis. That’s a major set back to development in Nunavik. We are going nowhere good, just being depleted in many life developments and enjoyments. Something major must take place in Nunavik to get life back on a civilized track, and it has to do with alcohol. I don’t have the answer, but I know the answers lives in getting the Nunavik population away from alcohol as much as by possible. Make alcohol next to Impossible to obtain. So what if bootleggers come out of the wood work? If that’s the case then policing needs a major overall to fight that kind of crime. Nunavik is a small limited access area. No rocket science needed, just more determination and common sense. It’s all downhill from here, if nothing is or can be done.

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