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Moncton Policing, Case Study Example

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Case Study

Introduction

The City of Moncton is facing a considerable challenge that has been over a decade in the making. In less than two weeks, the city council must make a decision that will cost millions and affect the community for many years to come. The city is at a crossroads with its policing services, and a decision must be made as to what policing structure will serve Moncton best. The people of the community expect effective law enforcement but are also concerned about cost. It is important for the city council to consider both as they make their decision, and it is important to understand not only all of the data and the history of this complicated situation, but also the politics and the special interests that are involved.

Problem Identification

It would be far simpler if the city council could make a straight forward decision based on the merits that each option provides, but the complexity and politics of the situation make this a far more difficult process. The council is charged with making the best decision for the people of the community, but they must be careful in their understanding of the issues. One of the biggest challenges will be to work the issue through all of the various interest groups that are involved, each of whom will attempt to sway the council to see things to their advantage. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), The Codiac Regional Policing Authority (CRPA), The Province of New Brunswick, The City of Moncton, and The New Brunswick Police Association all have a vested interest to influence the council’s decision. Each has valuable input to provide with information that is useful, but the council must weigh all of the facts equally on their own merit.

From a historical perspective, The City had its own police force for most of its existence, beginning in 1855 and throughout much of its history, which is also typical for this region that has always preferred to handle things locally. The more recent history began in 1997, when the RCMP assumed the role due to what was describe as a dysfunctional police organization marked by infighting between union and management, allegations of wrongdoing and a sexual harassment scandal. RCMP’s tenure has seen significant improvements in crime statistics and they are generally given favorable marks, but there are financial issues and politics with neighboring communities, not to mention a complex situation that keeps the council from having as much control over costs or the police force that is protecting their community. The council is very concerned in their current situation with the lack of control.

The root of the problem to be addressed by the council is to decide upon the future of the police force that will protect the City of Moncton for future decades, and to develop a policing services plan that maintains safety while also addressing limitations of the current arrangement. This decision will give careful consideration of costs, protection, and all information that is presented by all interest groups who want the council to vote in a way that favors what they represent. The data that is available to review is vast, which is also part of the task and problem. This data can be presented in any number of different ways that will support a specific group, but the role of the council is to interpret without bias so they choose what is best for the community.

Analytics for Evaluation

There is no place better to start than the present, as it is important to understand the status of the current policing system. There are valid reasons why the council chose to not renew the RCMP contract and to consider other options and it is because through experience the council was aware of the problems that the current contract presents. To assist them in making the right choice, a SWOT analysis was conducted to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the current situation.

For strengths, one has to agree that Moncton is considered a safe community to live. Data indicates that property crime dropped 25% over a three year period. Moncton was also twelve points lower than the Canadian average crime rate, and ranked 11th safest in non-violent crime. The RCMP had served the City of Moncton for twelve years, so there was an advantage that they were already in place and structured.. The RCMP also had access to national policing services such as forensics, police dogs, etc. that may be hard to duplicate under a different service.

Weaknesses of the current service had a lot to do with cost. The RCMP was expensive partly because unlike other jurisdictions that used the RCMP, Moncton did not receive a federal subsidy. In addition, Moncton had been helping to pay for police services in two other communities. The RCMP contract was shared with the communities of Dieppe and Riverview, but the cost was structured in a way that Moncton had to pay 78% of the total expense. The other major weakness is that the three communities lacked direct cost control over their own police services because the RCMP reported to the CRPA and not the city governments.

The opportunity to create a better policing service structure was present. The city council cancelled the police services contract so they could either try to restructure the service they presently had, or to find a better service that would address their financial and safety concerns. They could address the problem with direct control of service costs, and since the RCMP no longer possessed a contract, Moncton could push for a police service subsidy. This subsidy is received by other communities, so it was unfair to not offer the same financial help to Moncton.

The threats to the current situation mostly involved time and politics. The council had to have a decision in nine days, so there was not much time left to analyze data, get opinions from the community or for long discussion. The political threat came from all of the groups that were trying to influence the people of Moncton and the council. The Codiac RCMP budget covering all three communities was $25,125,251 in 2010. This investment in the community and the jobs it created made it a very important contract to the RCMP, the New Brunswick Police Association, and other interested parties.

A financial analysis of the current situation would assist in the council’s decision. In 2009, police services were budgeted to cost $18,626,888 which was about 16% of the city’s total expenditures, and far more than the $11,322,597 the city paid for fire services. It is important to note that both the communities of Riverview ($3 million police, $2.4 million fire) and Dieppe ($3.3 million police, $3.6 million fire) paid more similar amounts for their police and fire services, highlighting how much more Moncton was paying. Given how much police services cost, it is important that the city have a contract where they can control costs.

As for possible financial alternatives offered through other police service structures, the study group of the Executive Insight Committee for the CRPA assigned costs for different police service options as part of their study. They determined that costs would range between $14.1 million to $17.2 million depending on the option chosen, with the two lowest cost options being either a RCMP services model based on population, or to create a Moncton police department.

A value chain analysis of police services was also conducted to assist the council in their decision. This analysis looked at three potential decisions of the council, which would be to keep the RCMP, to create a population based service model of the RCMP for Moncton, or to return to a local police department under the New Brunswick Police Association. Whether the focus is on primary or support activities, this model clearly favors the RCMP, but does not differentiate between whether everything stays the same as in the current contract, or the services are revised to allocate costs based on population model instead of the current cost sharing method.

For support activities, the RCMP has distinct advantages. They have been in the Tri-community for twelve years, so they have the necessary infrastructure, human resource management, and procurement. A huge advantage for them is technology, as they have access to national resources that a local police department would not. In contrast, a local police department would have to set up infrastructure and procurement that the city does not provide, and they would have to hire an entire staff. This need could be addressed in time, but it is doubtful that a local police department could ever match the RCMP’s technology advantage.

For primary activities

The RCMP has existing systems for inbound/outbound logistics, operations. marketing/sales and service. However the advantage is not as great here, as the New Brunswick Police Association could assist the City of Moncton with their knowledge of such systems that they utilize in other communities. The local police option does have an advantage in marketing and sales, as the New Brunswick Police Association launched an advertising program designed to convince the local population that this is the best option to serve them.

Given the complexity of the situation, a PESTEL analysis was done to gauge the political, economic, social-demographic, technological, environmental and legal condition in which the council was operating. This analysis includes a difficult political environment, as the RCMP and the national government wishes to maintain the existing relationship, while the New Brunswick Police Association has engaged in promotional effort to try to gain both popular support and the support of the council. The other two cities in the tri-community agreement will also be affected by this decision, because if Moncton chose to do away with the RCMP, Dieppe and Riverview would be placed in a situation where the future of their police services would be in question. There is also the CRPA, who by some accounts claim a higher authority than they are really entitled to have. Most importantly, the citizens of Moncton would be influenced by the politics of all interested parties, so it would be essential to provide a transparent, thoughtful and reasonable decision that the council would need to be able to explain in great detail.

The economics of the situation were also critical. As mentioned previously, Moncton was forced to pay 78% of the total cost for police services in the tri-community area, and they only had 65.6% of the population. The method the communities were using to allocate costs was over-simplified and inaccurate. Even though the CRPA did a study on the cost sharing issue and came forward with recommendations, to date no significant changes had been agreed upon by the three communities. In addition, the RCMP was requiring a new $33 million dollar police station be built as they were outgrowing the current one, and Moncton would be expected to pay $25 million of that total. From an economic standpoint, New Brunswick Police Association believed that they could reduce police services costs by $6.6 million, and a new building was not required.

The social-demographic viewpoint would suggest a local police force. The New Brunswick Police Association had invested heavily in a promotional campaign designed to influence the local community of its merits. In addition to this, this province had historically always preferred to have local control over things whenever possible. People liked the idea of a community police force, not one that was federal in nature.

As the RCMP has access to national resources, there would be a distinct technological advantage to maintain their relationship. Police services was not an environmental issue so this aspect of the PESTEL analysis does not apply. As for the legal consideration the council needed to avoid litigation and legal matters, so it was important that they act fairly, within the rules, and communicate clearly as to why they make their decision and how they came to it.

Evaluation

The analysis shows that the council discontinued the current relationship with the RCMP for good reasons, as under the existing contract and cost sharing model Moncton could not get the best possible solution. It is a given that the council will either continue the tri-community relationship under a different set of rules, that Moncton will continue with the RCMP under a population based cost sharing model, or the city will opt to create its own police force, which could follow different possible models that exist in other communities.

Discussion of Alternatives: Based on the analytics and the evaluation, the following alternatives are available to us:

The City of Moncton continues tri-community cost sharing arrangement under a different set of rules. The city would expect the federal government to provide the same subsidy offered to other communities which equates to 10% of the cost of police services. In addition, Riverview and Dieppe would have to agree to a different cost sharing model through the recommendations made by the study group of the Executive Insight Committee of the CRPA. Given that only nine days remain until the expiration of the contract, the most simplified solution could be acceptable, which would be to use existing model that that relied on the SARPLE formula in combination with the municipal tax base.

Pros: overall cost reduction for the tri-community as 10% of police services would now be funded through federal government. The other two communities would pay a more fair amount of the cost for police services than they do at present. We would be able to maintain our existing police service which is generally seen as effective and creating a safer community.

Cons: The cost sharing model using SARPLE and municipal tax code still not entirely fair. Some in the community would prefer to have a locally based police force. Moncton would still be expected to pay $25 million for a new police building.

The City of Moncton would keep the RCMP, but services would be allocated based on population and not the current cost share model. This choice would also allow Moncton to keep the RCMP in place.

Pros: 10% of police services would now be funded through the federal government. The other two communities would pay a more fair amount of the cost for police services as cost sharing model now based on population. We would be able to maintain our existing police service which is generally seen as effective and creating a safer community.

Cons: We have been unable to agree with other two communities on a different cost sharing model. Some in the community would prefer to have a locally based police force. Moncton would still be expected to pay $25 million for a new police building. Since cost sharing is based on population, Moncton would have fewer officers and less coverage.

Work with the New Brunswick Police Association to create a City of Moncton Police Service. This service would be unionized and modeled after one of the other city run police services in other communities.

Pros: cost savings projected at $6.6 million per year, and no need to fund a new police building. Locally run police department would be popular for some in the community.

Cons: union conflicts and a dysfunctional organization were the reasons why a local police service was cancelled twelve years ago. Less access to national services provided by the RCMP and lack of technology.

Recommendations and Implementation

Based on the alternatives that are provided, the council needs to make the best possible choice for the city. The recommendations are as follows to resolve the police services issue for Moncton:

  1. Offer to create a new contract with the RCMP with the condition that the federal government provide the 10% subsidy that is standard for this type of police service. Given that the 2010 total Codiac RCMP budget is $25,125,251, Moncton, Dieppe, and Riverview would save about $2.5 million per year. In addition, we would benefit from keeping a police service that is considered stable, well structured and with added benefits of national resources and a higher level of technology than other options.
  2. With this savings to assist the budgets of all three communities, rework the cost sharing model for police services to a more fair system that takes into account the SARPLE resource planning tool and municipal taxes. Because the City of Moncton also provides service to outlying areas, this would be more fair than a population based model. This will lead to additional savings for Moncton without losing police coverage.
  3. Provide clear communication to the community, and to all of the interest groups involved, of the decision and why it was made. This decision will not be popular with everyone, and we can expect challenges from members of the community and from groups such as the New Brunswick Police Association. We will want to avoid legal challenges and conflicts as much as possible, so it is important for the council to give assurances that we listened to everyone, reviewed the facts, and decided that this was the best solution for the community. Some in the community will remember the issues we had twelve years ago with a local police force, and we have not had the same problems with the RCMP.

Appendix: SWOT Analysis: City of Moncton Police Services

Strengths:

  • Effectiveness: low crime rate well below Canadian average, 80% of local residents felt strongly that Moncton was a safe place to live.
  • Structure: The RCMP had provided service for twelve years, while any other option would be more of a new start up with more questions on how they would function.
  • Additional services are provided (police dogs, forensics, etc.) in addition to local services.

Weaknesses:

  • No federal subsidy for RCMP services in Moncton, which is unfair because other jurisdictions that use RCMP receive one.
  • Financial relationship with the two other communities is unfair as Moncton has to pay more than its fair share of the RCMP costs.
  • Expense: RCMP is more expensive than other options.
  • City of Moncton and its council lack direct control, as the RCMP are overseen by the CRPA and not Moncton.

Opportunities:

  • Contract was not renewed, so Moncton now has other options that they can consider.
  • Cost control: The council lacked the ability to control the cost of their policing services under the previous contract. Now there is a chance to structure it differently.
  • Subsidy: depending on the decision the council makes, they may be able to secure a federal subsidy to help fund police services, with the potential to save the community over $1 million dollars.

Threats:

  • Time: only nine days until the contract expires means the council needs to move quickly.
  • Politics: many special interests are involved that can interfere with the decision.
  • Community: the community will need to support the decision, and some of the interest groups have invested money to try to change their opinions.

Appendix: Value Chain Analysis

Value Chain Analysis

Support Activities:

  • RCMP: strong infrastructure, fully staffed, national and local services with access to much technology, existing procurement systems in place.
  • Moncton RCMP services based on population: RCMP still in place – same as above.
  • Local police department option: City of Moncton would provide some infrastructure, but some would have to be acquired. They would have to fully hire staff. Resources and budget would not allow for technological extras, procurement systems would have to be established.

Primary Activities:

  • RCMP: Inbound/outbound logistics, operations, service in place. Not much focus on marketing and sales. Cost is high for all of the support and primary activities provided.
  • Moncton RCMP services based on population: RCMP still in place – same as above.
  • Local police department option: all would be created. New Brunswick Police Association in charge of many local municipalities that they could use as models for Moncton. The association has been involved with a marketing/advertising effort to promote their cause. Cost is lower.
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