The RCMP have enhanced their criminal record check system to better protect vulnerable people such as children, youth, seniors and people with disabilities from pardoned sex offenders.
Red Deer City RCMP Const. Chris Kosack said fingerprints are now necessary when the gender and birth date of a criminal check applicant matches a pardoned sex offender record in the national police data base, the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).
Fingerprints are then sent to the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records in Ottawa for comparison.
Kosack said changes to the criminal record check system ensures people who have been given pardons “don’t slip through the cracks” and gain access to vulnerable populations.
If a person has been pardoned for a sex offence, local police may refuse to give that person security clearance for purposes of employment involving vulnerable people.
Recent analysis of CPIC showed that an individual could potentially avoid being linked to their pardoned sex offence if he or she used a different name.
This could occur if a legal name change was used for a query, and the name change went unreported to the RCMP for updating criminal record information.
Kosack said this has not been an issue in Red Deer.
Each month Red Deer City RCMP gets an average of 600 to 700 requests for criminal record checks by people who want to work or volunteer with vulnerable populations.
Kosack said right now clerks at the detachment are seeing requests for people preparing to work or volunteer in schools. The start of the local hockey season is also busy.
Changes to the criminal record check system went into effect about a month ago and can significantly increase the amount of time it takes to get a criminal record check since fingerprints must be sent to Ottawa.
Fingerprint comparison can take up to three months.
“A few people got pretty upset at our front counter staff when they were told of the possible lag time.”
But there is only one fingerprint repository for all of Canada’s police forces, Kosack said.
The cost of a criminal record check for work for Red Deer residents remains $25 at the city RCMP detachment. Volunteering checks are still free.
Government issued photo identification is required to process a vulnerable sector check.