Aug 08 2012 OTTAWA - The RCMP plans to spend $85,000 to hire a consultant to “identify, assess and mitigate” risks facing the RCMP’s Protective Operations Branch, whose responsibilities include protecting the prime minister.
The move comes on the heels of revelations in June that members of the prime minister’s security detail had complained about harassment and bullying in the workplace.
An RCMP spokesman on Wednesday denied any connection.
According to a contract notice posted online, the RCMP says it is seeking to hire a consultant to work up to six months. The consultant will conduct a risk assessment of all units within protective policing “to take the pulse and identify key risk areas in view of implementing risk management measures in the long-term planning of its security operations,” Sgt. Greg Cox, an RCMP spokesman, said in an email.
Cox would not say what triggered this request but answered “no” when asked if it might be related to reported tensions within the prime minister’s security detail.
Radio-Canada first reported in June about an internal RCMP report that revealed members of Prime Minister Harper’s protective detail had complained about harassment, intimidation and discrimination and that tensions had reached the point where the safety of Harper and his family could be compromised.
The report indicated that the complaints centred on Supt. Bruno Saccomani, the man in charge of the security detail, and that some agents were so anxious in his presence that they were unable to concentrate.
RCMP officials said at the time that a plan had been developed to help the unit’s manager “improve his management and leadership capabilities.”
Asked Wednesday if morale within the unit had improved, Cox would only say that the force “takes these matters seriously,” and constantly works to pursue “an open and transparent dialogue with our employees . . . to ensure a good work climate.”
Former staff members in the prime minister’s office have previously suggested that RCMP brass were giving Saccomani a hard time because they didn’t like the fact he’d been working to transform a unit that was viewed as a “cushy” gig for long-serving members.
Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Harper, said Wednesday, “We are very happy with the service provided by the prime minister’s security detail.”
In addition to providing protection for the prime minister, the Protective Operations Branch also provides security for the governor general, Parliament Hill and Canadian embassies.