Policing in North has its own challenges, says criminologist

The Iqaluit RCMP detachment. Curt Griffiths, a criminologist, says the planned talks between the RCMP and community leaders in Kimmirut, Nunavut, is a step in the right direction towards resolving problems in the hamlet. (Daniel MacIsaac/CBC)Highly visible officers, guns, alcohol and drug abuse create specific issues for Mounties

A criminologist welcomes the idea of a meeting between the Nunavut Royal Canadian Mounted Police and community leaders in Kimmirut, a predominantly Inuit community of 455 people in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

The meeting, scheduled for Friday, follows the latest gun violence last weekend which was aimed at police in the hamlet.

Curt Griffiths teaches at Simon Fraser University and advises on northern policing.

“Obviously, this is the way to go – is to engage in a collective problem-solving exercise and to bring all the parties together and strengthen the contacts between the community residents and the service providers. I think those kind of initiatives have proven to be successful in the past,” he said.

Griffiths said that generally, northerners have a positive attitude towards the police. But he said the fact that police are so visible in remote communities can have consequences.

“Unlike for example say in Toronto where most people never see a police officer except at a traffic stop and the police are relatively anonymous, that the police officer in a small northern community is very visible,” he said.

“Also, I would call it high-consequence policing in the sense that the decisions that these officers make have high consequences for the people who live in the community.”

Griffith said the recent incident could be from a combination of factors, including crowded conditions, guns, and alcohol and drug abuse.

He said the police are only part of the solution; other agencies which can help are social services, health services and the community itself.

Shooting hits close to home for Kimmirut mayor

The recent shooting in the community was very personal for the mayor, Qinuayaq Pudlat.

The accused shooter is Pudlat’s grandson. Pudlat was also within earshot when the shooting was happening.

“I was woken up around 2 a.m., telling me there was a shooting. I heard several shots fired. It was very hard and [I was] hoping no one got shot,” he said.

Pudlat said he is relieved no one was killed or injured.

The accused is Joe Sammy Utye, 20. He is charged with using a .303 rifle to shoot multiple rounds at the police detachment, piercing the walls while two officers and civilian were inside.

Pudlat has also welcomed the planned meeting with the police and community on Friday, saying Kimmirut is also looking for answers.

Related Links:

Nunavut residents rescue RCMP after office fired on, CBC News

Nunavut man charged after shots fired at RCMP detachment, CBC News

Nunavut RCMP blame booze, anger on weekend shooting, CBC News

For more northern stories from CBC.ca, click here

CBC News

For more news from Canada visit CBC News.

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *