British Columbia's housing and social development minister has seized on the anti-illegal gaming team's turnover rate as one of the reasons why that RCMP unit was ineffective and shutdown on April 1, 2009. But, according to an internal government report, that rate wasn't dissimilar from the turnover taking place across the force, with some of the unit's positions being "deliberately held open" to fund a high-level investigation.
Last year, Rich Coleman told Public Eye the team was "never fully-staffed and people were transferring in and out on a pretty regular basis to the point where it was ineffective" - a message he's repeated during follow-up interviews and estimates debate.
An effectiveness review, submitted to government on January 14, 2008, acknowledged the "unit has been less than fully staffed for most of the period it has been in operation."
Some of those vacancies were "attributable to turnover," leading to conditions that would "create difficulty for any program."
Other vacancies, though, "were deliberately held open to free up resources" to fund a "major internet gaming investigation" that took place in 2006.
According to the review, the RCMP responded to concerns about the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team's turnover rate by pointing out "the force in general has gone through a period of tremendous turnover" as a result of "the growth in positions elsewhere in the country."
But that period was ending thanks to a reduction in the RCMP's overall vacancy level, as well as the development of strategies to combat that problem.
Among them: the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team's commander Fred Pinnock was working internally to "stress the importance of finding staff who are willing to stay with the unit."
However, if such staff were found, they wouldn't have stayed with the unit for long. It was closed 15 months later.
The following is a complete copy of the relevant section of the aforementioned review, which was prepared by policy consultant Cathy Tait and obtained by Public Eye via a freedom of information request.