Levelling off

The province's gaming minister has said the RCMP's anti-illegal gaming team had a high turnover rate, criticizing it for being "sometimes at only 50 percent staffing." Rich Coleman also cited that turnover rate as one of the reasons why it was shutdown earlier this year, with meeting minutes for the government-funded team's consultative board noting "retirements, promotions and transfers" affected the unit's "continuity and performance." But those minutes also show, in at one instance, the team purposely didn't fill those vacancies - using the extra money "to deal with significant budget items in relation to its high-level enforcement investigation."

However, at the same meeting - which took place on December 1, 2006 - the board apparently directed the team to "focus on mid-level" rather than high-level targets.

The team's former commander Fred Pinnock earlier stated it "seemed the way to remain in favour with government" was to maintain "check-the-box-type" illegal gaming enforcement rather than "meaningful targeting that would disrupt significant criminal activity."

Minister Coleman refused to comment on that accusation. But he said the team was given that direction because high-level targets are handled by the RCMP's integrated gang task force and the combined forces special enforcement unit.

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