OTTAWA - The RCMP lacks a "national picture" of its aircraft use and needs, creating potentially costly inefficiencies, according to an internal evaluation.
The national police force's flight operations program operates as 19 individual air sections, each with its own way of doing business, the evaluation concluded.
The reviewers found the RCMP continues to need its own aircraft fleet, which cost $32.8 million to run in 2012-13.
However, the evaluation determined the Mounties would benefit from developing a national, co-ordinated approach to delivering air services.
The evaluation report, which makes six recommendations, has not been publicly released. The Canadian Press obtained an RCMP briefing note outlining the key findings under the Access to Information Act.
The evaluation is being finalized and the report, recommendations and management response will be posted to the RCMP website as early as next month, said Sgt. Greg Cox, an RCMP spokesman.
Former public sector integrity commissioner Mario Dion recently found RCMP pilots in Ottawa had altered flight manifests in order to fly overloaded aircraft. The Mounties acknowledged that some planes may have been flown overweight, but said this was likely due to calculation errors.
The police force relies on planes and helicopters for northern and regional patrols, transporting employees, prisoners and supplies, and carrying out searches. The RCMP initiative began in 1937 with four twin-engine bi-planes.
The internal evaluation examined the fight program's ability to provide value for money.
Efficiencies could be gained through better personnel management, including scheduling practices, the evaluation found. It also suggested a need for more information.
"The current flight scheduling, booking and tracking practices are preventing the RCMP from obtaining a national picture of aircraft use and requirements across the country," the September 2014 briefing note says.
"Accounting, tracking and reporting on national and financial information needs to be strengthened. This would contribute to a better understanding of the full costs of the program."
Some facts from the RCMP on the police force's flight operations:
Number of air sections across Canada: 19
Number of employees: 150, including 78 pilots.
Founded: 1937, with four twin-engine bi-planes and eight pilots.
Fleet: Comprises both the following planes and helicopters:
— 16 Pilatus
— 12 Cessna
— 9 Eurocopter
— 1 de Havilland Twin Otter
— 1 Kodiak Quest