Sixteen years after the Poitras Commission and its great appeal to enhance the training of members of security forces, the Sûreté du Québec was down two steps into his infatuation schooling: Stopru has learned that the police force has eliminated the requirement of academic credit for becoming an officer, in addition to university courses suspend funding for basic agents.
In recent weeks, officers have been advised that it is required to hold 30 university credits, the equivalent of a certificate, to be made an officer. Studies are always an asset, but they are no longer an eligibility criterion as was the case for several years.
The management said they wanted to be “more pragmatic” by adopting more flexible eligibility criteria. “We believe in it, for university. This is very important for management. But we have also experienced situations where we missed great leaders. Some had 12 years of management experience without the credits, and they were not eligible, “said Chief Inspector Pierre Allaire.
At this change of approach adds suspension, since last spring, the reimbursement of university tuition fees for non-commissioned officers and grassroots workers returning on school benches. Mr. Allaire confirms that skills development program is “under review” and that no date has been set for its reactivation.
“Levelling the bottom”
The Association of Police and provincial police in Quebec is worried about this trend, it attributes to the austerity program of the government. “It’s a bit dumb down, unfortunately. How to increase the standard if you do not encourage the training? “Says Pierre Veilleux, president of the association.
“Often, some criminologists and sociologists blame, they claim that a technical college level, it is not enough for police work. We, efforts to seek a university education our time outside of working hours, and the employer suspends because of the austerity program, as in all modern organizations is pervasive “laments Mr. Veilleux.
The union leader also evokes an approach of “two weights, two measures” because “the SPVM, they still have a program to support education.” He also suspects that the abandonment of the requirement to become college credit officer may be a way to reduce, in a roundabout way, spending on tuition fees.
Training and police work-related studies have been the subject of much debate over the past 20 years.
In 1994, a study group hired by former Police Institute had raised the idea that a university education is required to become a police officer one day. The same year, the Minister of Public Security Serge Ménard had sent a message that was substantially the same direction. “It is time to give a new direction to the Sûreté du Québec. I want a more educated police, “he declared, before appointing Serge Barbeau, a Masters in Public Administration, as general manager of the organization.
Two years later, in 1996, the Bellemare report, commissioned by the Ministry, denoted a “basic training serious problem with the investigator” and recommended the requirement of a university degree to enter the job, as it ‘ the case to the FBI.
In 1999, the Commission on the SQ, chaired by former judge Lawrence Poitras, recommended in turn significantly increase the level of training of investigators and their managers.
The organization has come a long way since then, observes the former general manager Serge Barbeau.
“When I started with a few colleagues to study at university in the early 80s, it was not very well seen. We did look askance, as if we wanted to be thinner than others. When I became Director, I have given a great boost by focusing on it for resources and allowing people to receive training, to show that everyone is a winner, “he says.
“Formerly, the management was learned on the job, but today the requirements are different. I allowed several officers to go their mastery at the National School of Public Administration, and it has raised the level of managers and executives we had, “he continues.
If it is still positive that police encourage development and education, however, he believes his old organization has done well not to make 30 academic credits required to become an officer.
“This is not necessarily good with making it mandatory, because it can actually be good candidates who have the skills and experience without the diploma. A good mix of the two is the answer, in my opinion. And be careful, because there are some very high-level training that are not necessarily recognized by a university, “he adds, citing the Canadian Police College and the FBI Academy, among others.
The ranks at the SQ
General staff officers
Deputy General Director