The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced Wednesday it will close five of its Quebec detachments.
Sixteen police officers and three civilian employees, as well as their families, will be relocated elsewhere in the province.
“This redeployment does not diminish our role or our presence in Quebec,” the RCMP insisted.
“We do not provide community policing in the province, and the changes do not affect public safety.”
The move, effective Friday, will eliminate a third of its service points in the province.
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- Laurentides-Lanaudière-Outaouais (Saint-Jérôme)
- Abitibi-Témiscamingue-Nouveau-Québec (Rouyn-Noranda)
- Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (Chicoutimi)
According to the RCMP, the detachments employed more than 75 police officers, civilians and public service employees.
“We are denouncing this severe reduction of services in the regions,” said Serge Bilodeau, president of the Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association (QMPMA), which represents RCMP members in the province.
“These cuts in services were done very quietly under the guise of a change of mandate, but, in the end, these closures were done anonymously and with indifference.”
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Bilodeau pointed out the measures “drastically prevent the regions affected to defend themselves from the threats of organized crime and terrorism.”
A reorganization of the force was announced in 2013.
In 2015, the RCMP closed detachments in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and Stanstead as part of federal government cuts.
After Friday, there will be detachments in Quebec City and Montreal, as well as seven points of service in Quebec’s outlying regions.