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Montreal police interim chief releases report looking into internal practices

Martin Prud'homme took charge of the Montreal force following the suspension of Philippe Pichet. Karol Dahl / Global News

Montreal’s interim police chief Martin Prud’homme says there is still a lot of work to do within the police force to fix its unhealthy climate and internal affairs.

After taking over the police force, Prud’homme has released his report looking into the force’s practices and dysfunctions.

The report highlights progress made over the past year and features 14 recommendations for the future.

Prud’homme says the priority is to continue to stabilize the force and restore the public’s trust.

“I think altogether, what we’re reading today in the final report is encouraging for the future of the SPVM,” said Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault.

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New Montreal police chief Martin Prud’homme wants transparency – Dec 21, 2017

Among the 14 recommendations that were issued, the interim chief mentioned creating a bureau to monitor internal affairs. He also suggested a joint Sûreté du Québec-Montreal police investigative team to take over the duties of Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI)– but it’s not certain yet if the government will implement that.

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“Will I go accordingly to the recommendation or will I do otherwise? I don’t know yet. I have to think about it and gather all the necessary information to make the best decision,” Guilbault said.

Another recommendation is to provide better training for police officers. Prud’homme found that one third of Montreal police investigators do not have the required training.

READ MORE: Montreal’s police chief announces major changes to city’s police force

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said she would follow up on the findings about training.

“That to me was shocking of course and I’m probably not the only one,” Plante told reporters. “But already there is a solution on how we need to change it.”

“There is a 24-month timeline and this is definitely something that I will doing a very close follow-up on because it’s not acceptable and that needs to change fast.”

Plante said a process is already underway to appoint a new chief.

READ MORE: SPVM interim police chief appoints four new deputy directors

Prud’homme has recommended two people from outside forces for the job: retired RCMP officer Line Carbonneau or retired SQ officer Sylvain Caron.

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They were among four deputies Prud’homme named last March to help lead restructuring within the police force.

Prud’homme was heading the SQ when he was asked to take over Montreal police amid allegations of favouritism and clans within the force.

He will remain at the helm of Montreal police until its new chief is appointed but will immediately return to head the SQ.