Changing RCMP culture

If anyone should have a strong sense of right and wrong, it should be police officers. It shouldn't take a gradual cultural shift to eliminate sexual harassment within the RCMP.

Insp. Carol Bradley, the officer appointed by the B.C. division of the RCMP to handle the response to allegations of sexual harassment within the force, has implemented corrective policies and procedure, but says cultural change is needed and that will take time.

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Here's one way to effect cultural change. Send a memo to every member of the force defining in clear terms what constitutes sexual harassment, along with this order: Don't do it. If you do, you're out.

Of course, that's an overly simplistic approach, and measures have already been taken. Bradley has been busy - she has posted harassment advisers across the province and has provided means for confidential reporting of problems. Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens has already announced the appointment of 100 specialized investigators who will look into harassment complaints.

All RCMP officers should not be judged by the improper actions of a few, but it's a serious concern to most Canadians that the problem exists at all. We hold the RCMP to a higher standard. Because of human fallibility, that standard will not always be met, but that doesn't mean the standard should be lowered.

Honour, dignity, respect and conduct befitting an officer of the law might be old-fashioned concepts, but they will never be outdated.

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