UNDER-FUNDED POLICE FACING CRISIS IN FAR NORTH: Feds Must Work with NAPS on Funding

Charlie Angus says the Federal government is failing the front line officers of NAPS (Nishnawbe Aski Police). NAPs serve the First Nation communities of Nishnawbe Aski Nation inNorthern Ontario. Chronic under-funding and under staffed units are leaving both officers and communities at risk. In a letter to Justice Minister Vic Toews, Angus calls on the Federal government to work with its funding partner (Ontario) in providing adequate support for NAPs.

Angus says the situation is intolerable. “NAPs officers are working under conditions that can only be described as Third World. They are not given anywhere near the same support as municipal police or the OPP. This needs to change.”

Angus is concerned that the lack of back up and proper resources is leading to increasing levels of burn-out and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress) among the force.

We are seeing upwards of 20% of the officers being off at any time because of leave or stress. This is the kind of levels you’d see in combat. We have officers going into violent situations without back up. They are lacking proper housing and many detachments are substandard.”

In 2006, two young men died in a fire in a makeshift jail cell in Kashechewan First Nation. A coroner’s jury came forward with 86 recommendations. So far the Federal and Provincial government have failed to act on the majority of recommendations. Angus says this must change.

“There is no reason for NAPs officers to be left without the resources they need. There is no reason why First Nation communities should have to accept undermanned and under-resourced police forces. Minister Toews needs to sit down with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and work out appropriate funding and support.”