ARCHIVED - RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009

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June 24, 2010

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Table of Contents

Overview of Analysis of CEW Database

Section One: Descriptive Analyses

Bivariate Analyses

Section Two: Narrative Summaries

Section Three: At-Risk Populations

Section Four: The Northern Divisions

Section Five: Members with Multiple Reports

Section Six: Report Comparisons

Annual Comparisons: 2002-2009

Conclusion

Appendices

List of Tables

List of Graphs

Overview of Analysis of CEW Database1

The following report is comprised of six parts; the first section is generally organized into sections corresponding to those found in the RCMP's Form 3996, while the other sections provide a more fulsome analysis of areas of concern as identified by the Commission.

SECTION ONE: Presents descriptive analyses of 6962 Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) Usage Reports completed by the RCMP between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.3 This section also focuses on two more specific questions: 1) what factors account for whether or not the CEW is actually deployed4 (either in probe or push-stun mode) and 2) what factors determine whether or not a subject, following an incident involving CEW deployment, is subsequently examined at a medical facility.

SECTION TWO: Examines both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the narrative summaries provided with the CEW reports to provide greater context about the circumstances of CEW usage in 2009.

SECTION THREE: Examines two populations the Commission has identified as at risk: youths aged 13-17 and subjects identified as having mental health issues.

SECTION FOUR: Examines CEW use in Northern Divisions, as the Commission is particularly interested in the use of force by the RCMP within this region.

SECTION FIVE: Examines members who have multiple CEW reports within the reporting timeframe.

SECTION SIX: Compares the 2009 findings with those from previous years and highlights significant changes over time. This section also details the findings from the annual comparisons.

The main findings in this report are as follows:

  • The percentage of reports resulting in CEW deployment dropped significantly from 2008. This result reflects an ongoing trend where CEWs have increasingly been used as a means of deterrence and as a tool for compliance. For the first time ever, the percentage of actual deployments is less than 50% of all CEW use.
  • There were 100 members who filed more than one CEW report during the year. This represented a sizeable decrease from 2008 (from 24.9% to 18.1%).
  • The degree of weapons involvement increased markedly in 2009, but the presence of weapons was not a significant predictor of deployment.
  • There were a number of significant changes in descriptive statistics between the 2008 and 2009 reports. In addition to the change in weapons involvement, there were notable increases in cases with described injuries and in cases referred for medical examination.
  • The narrative summaries for 2009 indicate that there were a wide variety of circumstances surrounding CEW reports. Combative or actively resistant subjects were the two largest behaviour categories, although combative cases decreased significantly from 2008. Instances of non-compliance, almost always with some additional circumstances, replaced threat cues as the third most common type of behaviour.
  • In some respects, CEW use in mental health incidents is still a concern. The deployment rate for these cases was significantly higher than it was for non-mental health cases (49.6% vs. 39.2%). As well, mental health cases represented almost one quarter of all deployments.
  • The geographic distribution of CEW reports in 2009 was unchanged from 2008. Nearly 80% of CEW reports were generated by the four Western divisions5; BC ranked first in the number of reports. Trend analyses confirmed that these figures represent a consistent pattern of deployment.
  • In 2009, the factors related to CEW deployment were subject age, division, and number of officers present (in its recoded form).
  • The variables associated with whether a subject was taken for a medical examination included mode of deployment, number of cartridges fired, number of officers present, weapons involvement, subject sex and age, and incident type.
  • CEW usage in relation to youths was essentially unchanged in 2009.

Graph 1: Type of CEW Deployment: Annually6

Graph 1:  Type of CEW Deployment: Annually
Graph 1:  Type of CEW Deployment: Annually

Based on the data contained within the forms 3996 the Commission was able to develop a very general profile of who was typically subjected to a CEW threat or deployment in 2009: the encounter most likely involved a male, aged 20-29, who was under the influence of a substance (most likely alcohol) and if armed with a weapon, it was typically a knife. The incident generally occurred between midnight and 4 a.m. and involved two members who were responding to an incident type that was identified as "Assault (non-domestic)" or "Cause Disturbance."

Section One: Descriptive Analyses7

Incident and Environmental Characteristics

The majority of usage reports were generated by the western divisions. Together, "E" Division (British Columbia), "K" Division (Alberta), "F" Division (Saskatchewan) and "D" Division (Manitoba) contributed more than three-quarters (78.5%) of all reports. This is virtually unchanged from last year's figure (79.3%). Once again, "E" Division, with the largest RCMP member population, produced more reports than any other division. The division rankings were also very consistent with those of the previous year. "J" Division (New Brunswick) and "B" Division (Newfoundland and Labrador) both moved up one spot, to fourth and sixth respectively, while "D" Division (Manitoba) and "H" Division (Nova Scotia) each dropped one position, to fifth and seventh. The remaining divisions all retained the same rank that they held in 2008 (see Table 1).

Although CEW reports were generated in relation to a wide variety of incident types, some circumstances generated more reports than others. The top five of these situations, "non-domestic assault," "causing a disturbance," "domestic disputes," "mental health," and "non-firearm weapons complaints" constituted two thirds (66.8%) of incident types. The distribution of incident types is very similar to 2008, with one major exception. In 2008, approximately 8% of incidents took place in cell blocks; however, the cell block designation was not used in 2009;8 instead, the nature of the event that led to the subject being in cells was recorded. This change is potentially problematic, both because it adds a level of distortion to the description of the event, and because cell block events are qualitatively distinct from other types of events.

Table 1: Whether CEW was Deployed by Division 9
CEW Deployment
Division 10 No Yes Total
Newfoundland and Lab. (B) 10
58.8%
7
41.2%
17
Manitoba (D) 33
68.8%
15
31.3%
48
British Columbia (E) 142
56.6%
109
43.3%
251
Saskatchewan (F) 86
76.8%
26
23.2%
112
Northwest Territories (G) 12
80.0%
3
20.0%
15
Nova Scotia (H) 12
75.0%
4
25.0%
16
New Brunswick (J) 38
57.6%
28
42.4%
66
Alberta (K) 69
51.1%
66
48.9%
135
Prince Edward Island (L) 4
57.1%
3
42.9%
7
Yukon (M) 7
53.8%
6
46.4%
13
Nunavut (V) 5
35.7%
9
64.3%
14
Total 418
60.2%%
276
39.8%
694
100%

As in previous years, CEW-related events occurred predominantly in the evening hours. More than half of all report-generating events took place between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. There was also little change in the number of officers present, and once again three or more officers were present at two out of every five CEW-related events.

In theory, Forms 3996 collect an assortment of environmental data, including setting, temperature, weather and lighting conditions, wind direction and wind speed. In practice, however, much of the information is incomplete, so much so that all but two of the fields, setting and lighting conditions, are not helpful. The more complete data indicates that CEW usage was roughly evenly split between interior and exterior settings, and that roughly 36% of events occurred under less than optimal lighting conditions.

Table 2: Incident and Environmental Characteristics 11
  N (696) %   N (696) %
Time of Day     Incident Type    
12 midnight to 4 a.m. 197 31.0% Arrest Warrant Execution 20 2.9%
4 a.m. to 8 a.m. 59 9.3% Assault (Non-domestic) 117 16.8%
8 a.m. to 12 noon 59 9.3% Break & Enter 10 1.4%
12 noon to 4 p.m. 65 10.2% Cause Disturbance 99 14.2%
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 101 15.9% Cell Block 0 0.0%
8 p.m. to 12 midnight 154 24.3% Domestic Dispute 97 13.9%
Not Coded * 61   Firearms Complaint 13 1.9%
Division     Gen. Patrol - No Complaint 5 0.7%
Headquarters 2 0.3% Impaired Driving 26 3.7%
National Capital Region (A) 0 0.0% Mental Health 95 13.6%
Newfoundland and Lab. (B) 17 2.4% Prisoner Escort 1 0.1%
Quebec (C) 0 0.0% Robbery 6 0.9%
Manitoba (D) 48 6.9% Search Warrant Execution 3 0.4%
British Columbia (E) 251 36.1% Suicidal Person 40 5.7%
Saskatchewan (F) 112 16.1% Traffic Stop 16 2.3%
Northwest Territories (G) 15 2.2% Weapons (Non-firearm) 57 8.2%
Nova Scotia (H) 16 2.3% Other 91 13.1%
New Brunswick (J) 66 9.5% Missing 0 0.0%
Alberta (K) 135 19.4% Number of Officers Present    
Prince Edward Island (L) 7 1.0% 1 110 15.8%
Yukon (M) 13 1.9% 2 279 40.1%
Ontario (O) 0 0.0% 3 158 22.7%
Nunavut (V) 14 2.0% 4 68 9.8%
Missing 0 0.0% 5 37 5.3%
Lighting Conditions     6+ 44 6.3%
Poor artificial light 87 13.7% Mean 2.79
Good artificial light 246 38.7% Setting    
Day light 156 24.6% Interior 314 49.4%
Dusk 19 3.0% Exterior 319 50.2%
Dark 124 19.5% Missing 2 0.3%
Missing 3 0.5% Not Coded 61  
Not Coded 61    

Member Operating CEW

Information concerning the reporting RCMP member is somewhat sparse; however, it is more complete than in previous years. As was to be expected, reporting members were typically constables on general duty. The identification of rank was much more complete with the 2009 data; in the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report, rank was missing for nearly 30% of incidents; in 2009 the rank was missing in only 3.6% of the cases.

Table 3: Member Operating CEW Characteristics
  N (696) %   N (553) %
Rank     Usage Reports Per Officer    
Constable 611 87.8% 1 453 81.9%
Corporal 46 6.6% 2 72 13.0%
Sergeant 11 1.6% 3 20 3.6%
Staff Sergeant 3 0.4% 4 4 0.7%
Inspector 0 0.0% 5 1 0.2%
Missing 25 3.6% 6 3 0.5%
Duty Type     7 0 0.0%
General Duty 597 85.8% 8 0 0.0%
Highway 14 2.0% 9 0 0.0%
ERT 4 0.6% 10+ 0 0.0%
Other 16 2.3% Missing 0 0.0%
Missing 65 9.3% Mean 1.26

As Table 3 demonstrates over 80% of members were involved in only one CEW reporting incident. Put another way, of the 553 RCMP members that filed at least one CEW report, 100 were involved in multiple CEW incidents in a twelve month period. The mean number of reports dropped from 1.36 to 1.26.

Table 4: Comparison of Selected Descriptive Statistics –Incidents Involving Members Filing One CEW Report (2009) vs. Members Filing Multiple Reports
  Single Reports Multiple Reports   Single Reports Multiple Reports
Deployment Mode     Incident Type    
Not Deployed 58.5% 63.4% Arrest Warrant Execution 3.8% 1.2%
Probes Only 21.4% 20.2% Assault (Non-domestic) 16.3% 17.7%
Push-stun Mode Only 15.5% 11.5% Break & Enter 1.5% 1.2%
Both Modes 4.6% 4.9% Cause Disturbance 11.9% 18.5%
Age of Subject     Cell Block 0% 0%
Under 20 10.4% 12.8% Domestic Dispute 13. 9% 14.0%
20 - 29 35.5% 32.9% Firearms Complaint 2.0% 1.6%
30 - 39 21.6% 28.4% Gen. Patrol - No Complaint .9% .4%
40 - 49 21.6% 16.0% Impaired Driving 3.5% 4.1%
50+ 7.5% 5.3% Mental Health 15.0% 11.1%
Missing 3.3% 4.5% Prisoner Escort .2% 0%
Sex     Robbery .7% 1.2%
Female 5.7% 6.6% Search Warrant Execution .7% 0%
Male 93.2% 91.4% Suicidal Person 6.6% 4.1%
Missing 1.1% 2.1% Traffic Stop 2.2% 2.5%
Substance Use Involved     Weapons (Non-firearm) 8.2% 8.2%
No 19.6% 19.9% Other 12.6% 14.0%
Yes 80.4% 80.1% Missing 0% 0%
Weapon Involved     # of Cartridges Fired    
No 49.5% 56.4% 0 74.0% 74.9%
Yes 50.5% 43.6% 1 23.2% 24.3%
Avoid use of lethal force     2 2.6% .8%
No 35.4% 43.1% 3 .2% 0%
Yes 64.6% 56.9% # of Times Push-stun Mode Used    
Avoid injuries     0 79.9% 83.5%
No 11.8% 10.4% 1 12.6% 9.5%
Yes 88.2% 89.6% 2 4.6% 3.3%
Subject aware of CEW     3 1.8% 2.9%
No 13.2% 8.1% 4 .9% .8%
Yes 86.8% 91.9% 5+ .2% 0%

Subject Characteristics

Relevant subject characteristics are captured in Table 5. The vast majority of the subjects are male (92.5%). On average, subjects were just over 30 years old, although a notable number were above 50 years of age. In keeping with past Commission reports, special note should be made of reports involving subjects under the age of 1812, there were 36 such reports in 2009 and a more detailed analysis can be found further in this report. The proportion of CEW cases involving subjects under 18 was unchanged from 2008, indicating the importance of continued monitoring.

As in previous years, a large percentage of events (80.2%) involved substances that had an impact on the suspect; nearly three-quarters (73.4%) of all cases involved alcohol. In comparison to 2008, when the prevalence of weapons accounted for 36.4% of cases, the prevalence of weapons in 2009 increased significantly (see also Table 5) to 48.2%. The proportion of cases involving weapons was the highest it has ever been. The most conspicuous increase in weapons involved knives and other edged weapons, which were present in three out of five weapons-related incidents.

According to the reporting members, the use of the CEW, in most cases, assisted in avoiding injuries. As well, members reported that the CEW avoided the use of lethal force in over 60% of reports. This figure continues a trend that was noted in the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report. In every year since 2002, the percentage of cases where members reported that the CEW prevented the use of lethal force has increased. The suggestion that nearly 400 subjects could have been subjected to lethal force were it not for the CEW is not borne out by the narrative summaries. It is also at odds with falling rates of actual deployment.

To that end, the Commission and the RCMP have been working together to clarify this issue as the RCMP no longer analyzes this particular variable. The RCMP confirmed that the question "Did the threat or use of CEW avoid use of lethal force?" was originally intended to capture how often the threat or use of the CEW avoided the application of lethal force. Since the question reports on "use" of lethal force, depending on the members' definition, the meaning "use" with respect to the CEW could be interpreted in a number of ways. Due to the subjective nature of the question and the fact that it caused considerable confusion it was not possible to accurately conclude how many times the CEW avoided the application of lethal force. The RCMP has agreed to report on subject behaviour of Death or Grievous Bodily Harm to assist in identifying how many times the CEW potentially avoided the application of lethal force due to the fact that the criteria for reporting the such behaviour is both observable and quantifiable.

Table 5: Subject Characteristics13
  N (696) %   N (696) %
Age     Sex    
Under 20 78 11.2% Female 42 6.0%
20 - 29 241 34.6% Male 644 92.5%
30 - 39 167 24.0% Missing 10 1.4%
40 - 49 137 19.7% Weapon Involved*    
50+ 47 6.8% No 329 51.8%
Missing 26 3.7% Yes 306 48.2%
Mean 32.2 Type of Weapon*    
Substance Use Involved     Gun, Rifle, or Shotgun 18 2.8%
No 138 19.8% Knife 161 25.4%
Yes 558 80.2% Other Edge Weapon 23 3.6%
Type of Substance*     Inert Projectile 41 6.5%
Alcohol 466 73.4% Baton, Club, Rod, or Stick 62 9.8%
Cannabis 69 10.9% Other Weapon14 84 13.2%
Cocaine 77 12.1% Avoid use of lethal force*    
Heroin 4 0.6% No 241 38.0%
Amphetamines 14 2.2% Yes 394 62.0%
Prescription Drugs 59 9.3% Avoid injuries*    
Other Substance 49 7.7% No 72 11.3%
  Yes 563 88.7%

Injury and Medical Characteristics

As outlined in Table 6, over 80% of reports indicated that the subject received no injuries; however, if the Commission examines only those cases where the CEW was actually deployed the percentage of 2009 reports that described some sort of injury was substantially higher than it was in 2008 (see also Table 52). The reasons for this increase were not readily apparent. Where injuries or physical afflictions were recorded, they were generally described as being consistent with the routine operation of a CEW. These included the "punctures" or "marks" produced by probes and the "burns" associated with push-stun mode.

The issue of injury seriousness is, to some degree, captured by two fields: whether photos of the injuries were taken, and whether the subject was examined at a medical facility. The former occurred in about one-fifth of deployments (21.6%), a significant increase over 2008. Medical examinations, twice as common as taking photos in cases where the CEW was deployed, similarly rose noticeably in 2009 (see also Tables 6 and 52). These two fields taken together, Table 6 could suggest that injuries were more likely and more serious in 2009; however, equally plausible is that members have made a concerted effort to actually capture and report on CEW-related injuries.

Table 6: Injury and Medical Characteristics
  N (63515) %   N (635) %
Injury Description     Photos Taken    
No Injury 526 82.8% No 576 90.7%
Puncture/Cut 47 7.4% Yes 59 9.3%
Burn 12 1.9% Medical Exam    
Marks 20 3.1% No 483 76.1%
Redness 1 0.2% Yes 152 23.9%
Bleeding 1 0.2% Proportion of Cases – CEW Deployed (N = 259)
Welts/Bruising/Swelling 1 0.2% Injury Described    
Chest pains/Short of breath 4 0.6% No 150 57.9%
Abrasions/Irritation/Scrape 6 0.9% Yes 109 42.1%
Injury After Event 12 1.9% Photos Taken    
Undisclosed Wound/Injury 0 0.0% No 203 78.4%
Defecation/Urination 0 0.0% Yes 56 21.6%
Unknown if there was injury 5 0.8% Medical Exam    
Dead16 0 0.0% No 149 57.5%
  Yes 110 42.5%

CEW Deployment Characteristics

Statistics pertaining to CEW usage are presented in Table 7. The most notable finding was the continuing increase in non-deployment or threatened use cases. In 2009, fully 60% of CEW usage did not result in the weapon being deployed, thus continuing the trend that has seen the CEW utilized more as a deterrent (deployment is only threatened).

The drop in deployment was almost wholly due to the reduced use of the CEW in push-stun mode only (see also Table 7). This continued the pattern identified in the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report. Prior to 2008, push-stun mode tended to be used much more often than the probes. In 2008, the usage was generally split between the two, and in 2009, for the first time, probes were used in a larger percentage of cases.

Graph 2: Percentage of CEW Deployment Mode: Annually

Graph 2: Percentage of CEW  Deployment Mode: Annually

When used in probe mode, more than one cartridge was rarely fired (only 8.4% of all such cases). On the other hand, push-stun mode was more apt to be used multiple times17. When push-stun mode was used at all, it was used two or more times on almost 40% of occasions. Anecdotal evidence from the narratives suggests a potential link between the decreasing use of push-stun mode and large proportion of multiple push-stun applications. Specifically, there were numerous instances when the CEW employed in push-stun mode was characterized as ineffective.

Subjects were usually made aware that a CEW was present (although the figure for 2009 of 88.5% is lower than the 92.0% recorded the previous year-see Table 53). Anecdotal evidence indicates that members may keep the CEW from view in particular situations, including the need to maintain tactical advantage, and the desire not to provoke or escalate an already agitated suspect. As well, the CEW sometimes is kept out of sight in circumstances involving subjects that are clearly suicidal or wishing to harm themselves. More generally, however, the fact that most subjects were aware of the CEW is consistent with the weapon's increased use as a deterrent.

Table 7: CEW Deployment Characteristics
  N (696) %   N (696) %
Taser Model*18     # of Cartridges Fired    
X26 Model 26000 531 83.6% 0 517 74.3%
M26 Model 44000 104 16.4% 1 164 23.6%
Missing 0 0.0% 2 14 2.0%
Deployment Mode     3 1 0.1%
Not Deployed 419 60.2% # of Times Push-stun Mode Used    
Probe Only 146 21.0% 0 565 81.2%
Push-stun Mode Only 98 14.1% 1 80 11.5%
Both Probe and Push-stun modes 33 4.7% 2 29 4.2%
Subject aware of CEW*     3 15 2.2%
No 73 11.5% 4 6 0.9%
Yes 562 88.5% 5+ 1 0.1%

Cartridge Usage Characteristics

In addition to completing an overall usage report, members are similarly required to complete an ancillary report on every cartridge that is actually fired. In 2009, 163 such reports were filed. All of the statistics cited in this section are based on those 163 reports.

In terms of the duration of discharge, probes were most often deployed for the full five-second interval. The weapon was usually cycled once, but multiple cycling was not uncommon, occurring almost 30% of the time. The clustering of the probes, as indicated by spread, was most often less than 30 cm.

In keeping with the theory of "central mass," it is to be expected that the intended target on the subject's body (Point of Aim) was the chest or back. Given the often chaotic nature of events, it also was not surprising that there appeared to be a fair degree of imprecision in where the probes actually impacted. In over 20% of cases, one or both probes missed their target.

The cartridge usage report also provides an indication as to whether the following verbal command19 was given before the CEW is deployed: "Police stop or you will be hit with 50,000 volts of electricity!" The command was actually given prior to deploying the CEW in fewer than 30% of cases. This was a significant drop in relation to the figures for 2008. Conversely, some alternative command, usually involving the use of the word "Taser," or a warning about "50,000 volts," was also given in about 30% of cases. This was higher than the 2008 number. In other words, the proportion of cases where some version of a verbal warning was invoked was consistent between the 2008 and 2009 reports.

In cases where no command was given prior to a CEW deployment, anecdotal evidence identified the following explanations:

  • No time to give command (with or without further elaboration)
  • Sudden or unexpected change in subject behaviour
  • Subject was combative
  • Members were already engaged with the suspect when CEW arrived
  • Subject posed immediate threat/possible or suspected weapon
  • Subject suicidal or threatening or attempting to harm him/herself
  • Subject delusional/irrational/agitated/not responding to verbal commands
  • Subject fleeing/members already in pursuit of suspect
  • Tactical considerations/element of surprise
  • Weapon had already employed once
  • Subject aware of CEW/CEW visible to subject

Bivariate Analyses

CEW Deployment

In this section the Commission sought to examine what situations were most likely to lead to a CEW being deployed in push-stun or probe mode. This section does not examine the situation that gives rise to CEWs being threatened or used as a deterrent.

For purposes of illustration, the association between CEW deployment and substance use in Table 8 were measured as "yes" or "no." That is, the CEW was either deployed, or it was not; substance use was involved, or it was not. The Commission sought to determine the proportion of yes answers for CEW deployment. Table 8 shows that when substance use was not involved, the CEW was deployed 37% of the time. However, when substance use was involved, the proportion of cases in which the CEW was deployed rose to 40.5%.20 Thus, the Commission can conclude that substance use was not related to CEW usage in that it did not significantly increase the probability that the CEW was deployed.

Table 8: Whether CEW was Deployed by Substance Use21
CEW Deployment
Was Substance Use Involved No Yes Total
No 87
63.0%
51
37.0%
138
Yes 332
59.5%
226
40.5%
558
Total 419
60.2%
277
39.8%
696
100%

Weapons involvement (Table 9) and subject sex (Table 10) showed similar patterns of results. The likelihood of CEW deployment was higher when a weapon was present (43.5% vs. 36.9% when there was no weapon). The likelihood of deployment was also higher when the subject was female (47.6%, as opposed to 39.1% for male subjects). But as with substance use, these differences were not statistically significant.

Incident type also was not significantly related to CEW deployment, but perhaps for different reasons (Table 11). There is significant spread in deployment rates by incident type (23% to 68%), but the incident types accounting for the extremes are relatively rare. Put another way, if we focus on those incident types that occurred more than 20 times, the range of deployment rates was much more limited (33.3% to 53.8%). Thus, the differences in deployment for the more common incident types were not sufficient to reach statistical significance. Table 11 also shows the rates of deployment relatively high for suicidal persons and mental health cases.

Table 9: Whether CEW was Deployed by Weapons Involvement 22
CEW Deployment
Were Weapons Involved No Yes Total
No 246
63.1%
144
36.9%
390
Yes 173
56.5%
133
43.5%
306
Total 419
60.2%
277
39.8%
696
100%

Table 10: Whether CEW was Deployed by Subject Sex 23
  CEW Deployment  
Subject Sex No Yes Total
Female 22
52.4%
20
47.6%
42
Male 392
60.9%
252
39.1%
644
Total 414
60.3%
272
39.7%
686
100%

Table 11: Whether CEW was Deployed by Incident Type 24
  CEW Deployment  
Incident Type No Yes Total
Robbery 2
33.3%
4
66.7%
6
Search Warrant Execution 1
33.3%
2
66.7%
3
Gen. Patrol - No Complaint 2
40.0%
3
60.0%
5
Impaired Driving 12
46.2%
14
53.8%
26
Suicidal Person 19
47.5%
21
52.5%
40
Mental Health 49
51.6%
46
48.4%
95
Arrest Warrant Execution 12
60.0%
8
40.0%
20
Other 56
61.5%
35
38.5%
91
Domestic Dispute 60
61.9%
37
38.1%
97
Assault (Non-domestic) 73
62.4%
44
37.6%
117
Weapons (Non-firearm) 37
64.9%
20
35.1%
57
Cause Disturbance 66
66.7%
33
33.3%
99
Break & Enter 7
70.0%
3
30.0%
10
Traffic Stop 12
75.0%
4
25.0%
16
Firearms Complaint 10
76.9%
3
23.1%
13
Prisoner Escort 1
100.0%
0
0.0%
1
Total 419
60.2%
277
39.8%
696
100%

Tables 12 and 13 are more complicated. In contrast to 2008, the pattern of CEW deployment by number of members present did not show a clear linear trend. However, there does appear to be a more general pattern in Table 13: that is, the likelihood of a CEW deployment appeared to increase when four or more members were present. The probability of deployment when four or more members were present (47.7%) was significantly higher than when there were three or fewer members (37.7%).

There were significant differences for CEW deployment by division (see Table 1). There was a wide variation in deployment, ranging from a low of 20% in "G" Division (Northwest Territories) to a high of 64.3 % in "V" Division (Nunavut). The Western divisions showed much less consistency than in 2008, and the gaps in deployment rates between each of the four Western divisions were pronounced. It is worth noting that the overall drop in CEW deployment was essentially division-wide. Only in "L" Division (Prince Edward Island) did the deployment rate rise, and the numbers of cases in this division are very small. CEW deployment decreased in all other divisions, in some cases drastically so. For example, the deployment rates for "F" Division (Saskatchewan) and "D" Division (Manitoba) dropped 15 and 13 percentage points respectively.

Finally, as noted above, subject age was associated with CEW deployment. Table 14 appears to identify three broad effects. First, CEWs are less likely to be deployed when subjects are under 20 years of age. The second group of subjects, between ages 20 and 39, define the average probability for deployment (around 38%). Relative to these groups, subjects 40 years and older have a greater chance of having the CEW deployed against them.

Table 12: Whether CEW was Deployed by Number of Members Present 25
CEW Deployment
Number of Members Present No Yes Total
1 71
64.5%
36
35.5%
110
2 175
62.7%
104
37.7%
279
3 95
60.1%
63
39.9%
158
4 34
50.0%
34
50.0%
68
5 21
56.8%
16
43.2%
37
6+ 23
52.3%
21
47.7%
44
Total 419
60.2%
277
39.8%
696
100%

Table 13: Whether CEW was Deployed by Number of Members Present (Recoded) 26
  CEW Deployment  
Number of Members Present No Yes Total
3 or Fewer 341
62.3%
206
37.7%
547
4 or More 78
52.3%
71
47.7%
149
Total 419
60.2%
277
39.8%
696
100%

Table 14: Whether CEW was Deployed by Subject Age 27
CEW Deployment
Subject Age No Yes Total
Under 20 57
73.1%
21
26.9%
78
20 – 29 149
61.8%
92
38.2%
241
30 – 39 107
64.1%
60
35.9%
167
40 – 49 74
54.0%
63
46.0%
137
50+ 23
48.9%
24
51.5%
47
Total 410
61.2%
260
38.8%
670
100%

Medical Examination

The Commission also analyzed whether subjects were examined at a medical facility and took medical examination as a rough approximation for rate of injuries. As such, it is important to recognize that subjects were sometimes taken for medical exams even if their injuries were not directly related to the use of a CEW. For example, the subject may have been injured in the altercation that led to the CEW being deployed. In general, however, the narrative summaries suggested that the medical exams were primarily related to the CEW. It is also worth mentioning that all of the following analyses are limited to circumstances in which the CEW was actually deployed.

With regard to mode of deployment (Table 15), it is clear that probe mode, either alone (50.8%) or in conjunction with push-stun mode (48.5%), brought a much higher risk of requiring a medical examination than push-stun mode alone (29.2%). These differences between probe and push-stun mode were statistically significant and consistent with the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report findings.

Table 15: Whether Medical Examination was Performed by Mode of Deployment 28
Medical Examination
Deployment Mode No Yes Total
Cartridges Only 64
49.2%
66
50.8%
130
Push-stun Mode Only 68
70.8%
28
29.2%
96
Both Cartridges and Push-stun Mode Used 17
51.5%
16
48.5%
33
Total 149
57.5%
110
42.5%
259
100%

Table 16 shows a strong, positive relationship between medical examination and the number of cartridges fired. The chances of requiring a medical exam were almost twice as high if more than one cartridge was fired (although this was a relatively rare event). This figure was statistically significant. Table 17 shows a less definitive pattern in relation to the number of times push-stun mode was used. While the probability of a medical exam increased markedly in incidents with two or more push-stun applications, there was virtually no difference in probabilities between the first and second application. The results for tables 16 and 17 are opposite to what they were in 2008, when number of times push-stun mode was used was significant and number of cartridges fired was not.

Table 16: Whether Medical Examination was Performed by Number of Cartridges Fired 29
  Medical Examination  
Number of Cartridges Fired No Yes Total
1 80
52.3%
73
47.7%
153
2 or 3 1
10.0%
9
90.0%
10
Total 81
49.7%
82
50.3%
163
100%

Table 17: Whether Medical Examination was Performed by Number of Times Push-stun Used 30
  Medical Examination  
Number of Times Push-stun Mode Used No Yes Total
1 54
68.4%
25
31.6%
79
2 19
67.9%
9
32.1%
28
3 7
46.7%
8
53.3%
15
4+ 5
71.4.0%
2
28.6%
7
Total 85
65.9%
44
34.1%
129
100%

Table 18: Multiple Cycling of CEW vs. Medical Examination 31
Medical Examination
Cycles No Yes Total
2 16
48.5%
17
51.5%
33
3 3
30.0%
7
60.0%
10
4 0
0.0%
4
100.0%
4
Total 19
40.4%
28
59.6%
47
100%

A generally linear pattern of increase was also observed for number of members present . Just as the presence of more members increased the likelihood of CEW deployment in earlier analyses(Table 12), so too did it raise the risk of medical attention. When three or more members were present, there was a 50/50 chance that the subject would be taken for a medical exam. With six or more members, that figure rose to nearly 70%

Just as in 2008, but to an ever greater degree, weapons involvement significantly increased the likelihood of being taken to a medical facility for examination. And as was the case for 2008, substance use was not related to the probability that a subject was examined. In fact, medical exams were more common when substances were not involved (although not significantly so).

With regard to subject gender, females have always been taken for medical exams with greater frequency (proportionally) than males. In the past, the magnitude of the difference has been insignificant. This changed in 2009, however, as females were significantly more likely to be examined. Subject age was also a significant predictor of medical examination. Table 19 shows a familiar pattern. As with the statistics related to CEW deployment, there was a noticeable jump for subjects aged 40 and older, and a jump for those aged 50 and above.

Table 19: Whether Medical Examination was Performed by Subject Age 32
Medical Examination
Subject Age No Yes Total
Under 20 13
61.9%
8
38.1%
21
20 – 29 57
64.8%
31
35.2%
88
30 – 39 35
62.5%
21
37.5%
56
40 – 49 30
47.6%
33
52.4%
63
50+ 7
29.2%
17
70.8%
24
Total 142
56.3%
110
43.7%
252
100%

Table 20 ranks various types of incidents by their propensity to result in a medical examination. The figures for cases categorized as involving suicidal persons or mental health are remarkable. The rates of examination for subjects in these types of cases, at over 80%, were more than double those of every other incident type, with the exceptions of search warrant execution (comprising only two cases) and non-firearm weapons (and here the gap was still over 20 percentage points). In fact, the rates of examination for suicidal persons and mental health (and non-firearm weapons) were so large that the rates for all of the remaining incident types were below the overall average of 42.5%.

The pattern of results for division closely mirrored, in some respects, those found in the previous deployment analysis. Different divisions produced vastly different medical examination rates, ranging from 26.1% in "F" Division (Saskatchewan) to 85.7% in "B" Division (Newfoundland and Labrador). The very unequal distribution of events, with many divisions having few cases, strongly suggests caution in drawing firm conclusions.

Neither taser model nor multiple CEW cycling demonstrated an appreciable effect on the likelihood of medical examination. Each successive cycling of the CEW did increase the risk of medical exam, but the relationship was not significant, because there were so few people in most of the categories.

Table 20: Whether Medical Examination was Performed by Incident Type 33
  Medical Examination  
Incident Type No Yes Total
Search Warrant Execution 0
0.0%
2
100.0%
2
Suicidal Person 3
14.3%
18
85.7%
21
Mental Health 8
19.0%
34
81.0%
42
Weapons (Non-firearm) 7
41.2%
10
58.8%
17
Domestic Dispute 23
62.2%
14
37.8%
37
Arrest Warrant Execution 5
62.5%
3
37.5%
8
Firearms Complaint 2
66.7%
1
33.3%
3
General Patrol – No Complaint 2
66.7%
1
33.3%
3
Other 25
73.5%
9
26.5%
34
Robbery 3
75.0%
1
25.0%
4
Assault (Non-domestic) 28
75.7%
9
24.3%
37
Cause Disturbance 24
77.4%
7
22.6%
31
Impaired Driving 13
92.9%
1
7.1%
14
Traffic Stop 4
100.0%
0
0.0%
4
Break & Enter 2
100.0%
0
0.0%
2
Prisoner Escort 0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0
Total 149
57.5%
110
42.5%
259
100%

Section Two: Narrative Summaries

This section provides both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the narrative summaries on the Forms 3996 to provide greater context for the circumstances that gave rise to RCMP CEW usage in 2009. As with the Commission's previous CEW report it must be stressed that the Commission is taking the descriptions in the narratives at face-value; no assessment of truth has been afforded to the members' articulation of events and the Commission has not re-coded the members' assessment of the subjects' behaviour.

Descriptive Circumstantial Categories

In order to attempt to better understand the nature of the CEW use by the RCMP it is necessary to analyze the variety of circumstances that could be present in a situation where CEWs are used. In this instance, no assumptions were made about what members were thinking in relation to the subject's behaviour at that time; rather, the analysis looked at the descriptions in the narrative summary that were provided by members in their attempt to articulate what had happened. The content analysis strove to identify, and then examine, the nuanced behaviour present in these situations and should not be correlated with the RCMP IM/IM subject behaviour classifications.

The goal in this section is to provide more detailed information about the contexts and circumstantial factors that gave rise to the use of the CEW. Qualitative coding techniques were used to create ten broad categories of circumstances that surrounded CEW use. While some of the terminology used to describe the circumstances surrounding CEW use may be similar to the RCMP's subject behaviour classifications, they are not correlative. The objective of the content analysis was:

  • to qualitatively categorize the circumstances in which members found themselves and identify sub-sets of behaviour that need to be further broken down;
  • to further understand what situational factors (or circumstances) may impact a member when they are identifying a subject behaviour classification; and
  • to attempt to identify and categorize the nature of the situation the members found themselves in, which is far more nuanced than the large over-arching categories of subject behaviour classifications.

It is not the Commission's intention with this content analysis to independently classify or authenticate a subject behaviour classification identified by a member; the objective is to analyze circumstances and to categorize those circumstances in a manner that can be more fully evaluated.

Combative

The most common of the circumstances producing a CEW report were those where the subject was combative. As with most of the categories, the combative designation is broadly defined. In general, combative refers to subjects fighting with members or otherwise attempting to injure members by kicking at them, brandishing weapons at them, and the like. Contrary to common report usage, combative does not include circumstances where the subject is apparently about to become combative. As it could be argued that these represent qualitatively difference situations, they have been given a distinct category, threat cues, which will be further explained below.

Actively Resistant

Closely related to combative is the second most prevalent category, actively resistant. Active resistance is distinguished from combativeness by the level of physicality and hostile intent exhibited by the subject. In circumstances characterized as actively resistant, subjects did not attempt to strike the member(s), but rather, physically resisted police attempts at control. The most common example of active resistance would be subjects pressing their arms against (or underneath) their bodies so as to obstruct members' attempts to handcuff the subject or otherwise take the subject into custody. Leveraging or bracing ones body to prevent being put into a police cruiser would be another example of active resistance. Note that the subject had to actually do something in order for his or her behaviour to be defined as resistant. Passive resistance, or noncompliance, will be addressed shortly.

Threat Cues

Of the three main circumstances categories, threat cues is perhaps the most ambiguous. Simply put, there are a number of behaviours that members recognize as precursors to more aggressive behaviour; however, the subject has not started to do something rather they are showing signs that they are about to do something. Threat cues included such things as adopting a bladed or boxer's stance, intense staring, the clenching and unclenching of fists, and noticeable body tensing. In a large number of cases, threat cues were exacerbated by closing the distance. In other words, these behaviours become even more worrisome when the subject began to move toward the member. As noted above, members routinely described threat cue behaviours as being combative. However, to maintain the integrity of the category of combative behaviours, threat cues here were treated as distinct.

Non-Compliance

On the face of it, non-compliance would appear to be the most innocuous of the circumstantial categories. As the name suggests, non-compliance refers to circumstances where subjects were uncooperative, especially with regard to following member instructions. Most non-compliance cases, however, were not clear-cut. In fact, over 90% of non-compliance cases involved additional circumstances that cast the non-compliance in a much different, much more serious light.

Examples of additional circumstances included subjects being unwilling to show their hands, hiding, or making quick or unexpected movements, and the presence of weapons. Most often, it was not so much the lack of cooperation, but the lack of cooperation coupled with some aggravating factor that resulted in the use of a CEW. The RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report recommended that "it might be helpful if members avoided characterizing these multifaceted situations as simply 'non-compliance,' and instead categorized them by the larger threat." The 2009 narratives seem to have moved more in that direction.

While the combative designation was the most common type of event, the proportion of cases categorized as such was much lower than in 2008. In contrast, cases of non-compliance increased. As mentioned earlier, this change in balance might help to explain the decrease in deployment rates in 2009. The levels of active resistance and threat cues were essentially unchanged from 2008.

Fleeing, Suicidal and Weapons

In addition to these broad categories, there were three more specific behavioural patterns that together comprised almost one quarter of CEW incidents. The first of these involved suspects who were fleeing or attempting to flee. An interesting subset of fleeing cases involved what was termed "post-flight" incidents. In these cases, members caught up to suspects that had fled. The CEW was already out because of the chase, or it was drawn as a precaution until the suspect's intentions could be ascertained. Analysis showed a large increase in fleeing attempts (7.8% vs. 28.3%), accompanied by a decrease in post-flight encounters (20% vs. 13%). Second, CEWs routinely played a part in calls related to suicidal suspects. These calls were often complicated both by the agitated emotional status of the subject, as well as the fact that weapons (especially knives) were regularly involved. There was a notable increase in cases involving suicidal subjects in 2009. And third, there is a special category of weapons cases. In these incidents, the CEW tended to be used as a means of effecting safe entry. That is, members would arrive at a location knowing that the subject was, or very likely was, in possession of a weapon. In these cases, CEWs were drawn before engaging the subject. Cases pertaining to in view weapons were unchanged between 2008 and 2009, but the drop in possible weapons in 2009 was very large. The other type of weapons call followed a similarly predictable script; that is, members arrived on location to find a suspect wielding a weapon, and the CEW was brought out before the initiation of contact with the subject. It is important to note that weapons incidents often included lethal over-watch34.

Tactical

For this report, a new category of tactical entry or approach was created. Tactical refers to those situations where the CEW was drawn as a precaution prior to entering a residence, other building, or situation. In a typical tactical case, members are called to a scene where the subject has, according to the information available, committed a serious or violent crime (often common or spousal assault) or is threatening same (usually with a weapon). Based on their assessment of the situation, members draw the CEW before confronting the subject. Most of these cases simultaneously involve lethal overwatch. There were few tactical cases in 2008, so they were categorized as miscellaneous. But in 2009, the number of tactical events was large enough that they would have resulted in a puzzlingly large increase in miscellaneous cases. As a result, they now have their own classification.

Residual Categories

In addition to these eight main categories, three residual categories were identified. The first, other circumstances, generally referred to non-weapons-related "in progress" calls, for offenses such as assault or breaking and entering. The most common call of this type was for a fight in progress. The miscellaneous category, not surprisingly, refers to a wide range of behaviours that couldn't be classified into the other categories. Finally, 30 of the CEW reports did not contain enough information to properly categorize the circumstances.

Bivariate analyses

One of the principal issues identified in this report thus far is that of CEW deployment. Table 21 clearly shows that rates of deployment varied enormously by encounter circumstances. As expected, incidents involving combative subjects were by far the most likely to result in the deployment of the CEW. Conversely, threat cues only provoked CEW usage less than one-fifth of the time; therefore, CEWs were much more likely to be used as deterrents in cases where only threat cues are identified and where the situation had not become more aggressive or physical. The same may be said of weapons cases, although evaluating the pre-emptive effect of CEWs in these instances is complicated by the fact that many interactions simultaneously included lethal over-watch.

Table 21: CEW Deployment by Narrative Circumstances 35
  CEW Deployment  
Circumstances No Yes Total
Combative 44
28.9%
108
71.1%
152
Actively Resistant 53
51.0%
51
49%
104
Threat Cues 56
81.2%
13
18.8%
69
Fleeing 25
54.3%
21
45.7%
46
Suicidal 38
55.1%
31
44.9%
69
Non-compliant 64
73.6%
23
26.4%
87
Weapons 48
84.2%
9
15.8%
57
Tactical 21
100%
0
0.0%
21
Other Circumstances 6
85.7%
1
14.3%
7
Total 355
58.0%
257
42.0%
612
100%

The rates of CEW in cases involving suicidal, fleeing, or actively resistant subjects were roughly similar. The pattern with regard to CEW deployment in cases of suicidal subjects was fairly consistent: the CEW was usually deployed a) to incapacitate a subject that had begun to harm him or herself; or b) in cases where long periods of fruitless negotiation had convinced members that the subject was determined to hurt him or herself and that there was no other way to bring the situation to an acceptable conclusion. The circumstance surrounding CEW deployment in the other two types of cases (fleeing and actively resistant) appeared to be more ad hoc. References to specific decision-making factors were largely absent in these reports. Apparently analogous events often produced contrasting CEW outcomes. The Commission found, from the information available in the narratives, it was very difficult to discern why some cases of fleeing or active resistance produced CEWs deployments, while others did not.

Tactical decisions by members did not end in deployment. This is the result of the way the narratives are coded. Subject behaviour is classified according to what precipitated the ultimate case outcome. If members deployed the CEW for tactical reasons, and the case was resolved without deployment, that case would be categorized as tactical. However, if the initial approach was tactical, but the subject behaviour resulted in the CEW being deployed, the incident would be coded to the specific behaviour (i.e. combative or actively resistant). For example, if, after entry, the subject actively resisted arrest, to the point of where members were forced to deploy the CEW in push-stun mode, that case could be categorized as actively resistant. Again, it is not necessarily the conduct that led to the initial member-subject contact, but rather the conduct that precipitated the final result that is most important consideration for categorization. Almost by definition, then, tactical cases do not produce CEW deployments but it is important to identify such decision-making processes.

Analyses of the specific mode of deployment shed more light on CEW usage. Table 22 is intended to be read down, by deployment mode. There was no evidence of push-stun abuse. The use of push-stun mode only was very rarely used outside of contexts involving combative or actively resistant subjects. This finding is consistent with the perception that push-stun mode is more tactically efficient in close-quarters combat. The most common use of probes was also in relation to combative subjects, but the distribution of probe deployments across all contexts was much more even. It was telling that fewer than 10% of probe deployments were in response to active resistance. In order to use probes properly in combative or actively resistant cases, members normally had to reposition themselves. When they were unable to do so, push-stun mode was the only remaining option.

Table 22: CEW Mode of Deployment by Narrative Circumstances
Probe Mode Only Push-stun Mode Only Both Push-stun and Probe Mode
N (133) % N (93) % N (31) %
Circumstances            
Combative 37 27.8% 57 61.3% 14 45.2%
Actively Resistant 12 9.0% 32 34.4% 7 22.6%
Threat Cues 11 8.3% 1 1.1% 1 3.2%
Fleeing 14 10.5% 1 1.1% 6 19.4%
Suicidal 29 21.8% 1 1.1% 1 3.2%
Non-compliant 20 15.0% 1 1.1% 2 6.5%
Weapons 9 6.8% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Other Circumstances 1 0.8% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%

If there is one area of concern, it is with regard to the use of probes in relation to suicidal subjects. These cases accounted for more than 20% of all probe applications. More troubling was the impression conveyed in the narratives of seemingly routine CEW deployment in cases involving suicidal subjects. Clearly, these cases are operationally problematic for the police, as they most often involve subjects that are thinking and behaving irrationally. These cases are complicated, as well, by the near constant presence of weapons. Still, there were numerous examples of cases where deployment in probe mode was the initial response. Despite the obvious difficulties presented by suicidal subjects, the Commission is concerned that CEW deployment appears to have become the default reaction on the part of RCMP members using the CEW; however, this concern will be subject to further analysis.

When CEWs are deployed, combative and actively resistant subjects were most likely subject to push-stun mode. For the other circumstances, as a matter of practicality, probe mode was more common. This was particularly true in cases where members were unable to reach the subject (e.g. fleeing), or where tactical prudence dictated that members maintain maximum effective distance (e.g. weapons, suicidal subjects in possession of weapons, or subjects exhibiting threat cues).

The possible extent of injury resulting from CEW cases is explored in tables 23 and 24. In terms of deployment mode, the proportion of push-stun mode cases that involved a medical examination was largely consistent with the overall proportion of push-stun mode cases. On the other hand, the pattern of probe usage in cases involving a medical exam differed from the overall pattern. Most noticeably, probe incidents involving combative or fleeing subjects were comparatively less likely to result in a medical examination. However, probe incidents involving suicidal subjects were much more likely to result in examination. It is important to note that some of the suicidal subjects were taken for exams not because of injuries resulting from the probes, but because the subjects had been actively attempting to injure themselves prior to the use of the CEW.

Table 23: CEW Mode by Narrative Circumstances- Cases Involving Medical Examination 36
  Probes Only Push-stun Mode Both Push-stun and Probe Mode
  N (63) % N (26) % N (16) %
Circumstances            
Combative 13 20.6% 12 46.2% 8 50.0%
Actively Resistant 6 9.5% 13 50.0% 4 25.0%
Threat Cues 3 4.8% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Fleeing 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 3 18.8%
Suicidal 21 33.3% 1 3.8% 1 6.3%
Non-compliant 13 20.6% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Weapons 7 11.1% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Other Circumstances 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%

Table 24: Narrative Circumstances by CEW Mode – Cases Involving Medical Examination 37
  Probes Only Push-stun Mode Both Push-stun and Probe Mode
  N (63) % N (26) % N (16) %
Circumstances            
Combative 13 39.4% 12 36.4% 8 24.2%
Actively Resistant 6 26.1% 13 56.5% 4 17.4%
Threat Cues 3 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Fleeing 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 3 100.0%
Suicidal 21 91.3% 1 4.3% 1 4.3%
Non-compliant 13 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Weapons 7 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Other Circumstances 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%

The final table (Table 25) in this section demonstrates the relationship between incident type and narrative circumstances and shows that the reasons for CEW deployment, as represented by narrative circumstances, varied by incident type. For several of the incident types, such as domestic disputes and non-domestic assaults, impaired driving, and causing a disturbance, the majority of CEW deployments were prompted by combative or actively resistant behaviour. Despite these similarities, however, subtle differences in situational dynamics were sometimes evident. For example, combative behaviour was most likely to turn into assaultive violence against the police in non-domestic assault cases. Put another way, instances of assault are high-risk encounters for the police, as subjects regularly transition from the status of "victim" to that of "perpetrator," with RCMP members as intended targets.

For other types of incidents, most notably those involving weapons or pertaining to mentally ill or suicidal subjects, the narrative circumstances were much different. Clearly, the dynamics in cases involving weapons were such that CEWs were usually deployed prior to subject become combative or even actively resistant. Together, the broad behavioural categories (combative, actively resistant, and threat cues) accounted for less than one quarter of weapons-based incidents. Conversely, in about 30% of such incidents, it was the presence of the weapon itself, outside of any other behaviour that resulted in a CEW deployment.

The picture is complicated for mental health/suicide cases. Combativeness and active resistance were quite rare for suicidal subjects. Instead, in 60% of cases, the "fact" of suicidal behaviour appeared to be a more primary concern. And while combative and actively resistant behaviour was more evident in mental health cases, mental health considerations were just as prevalent. The complication, of course, comes with ancillary weapons involvement. Again, it appears that the combination of apparently reduced rationality and weapons tended to invite deployment. It is worth noting that, in some mental illness cases, the CEW actually served to exacerbate the situation, as disoriented subjects struggled to comprehend what was happening.

Table 25: Narrative Circumstances by Incident Type: CEW Deployments
  Narrative Circumstances  
Incident Type Combative Actively Resistant Threat Cues Fleeing Suicidal Non-compliant Weapons Tactical Total
Arrest Warrant Execution 4 4 3 2 1 2 2 0 18
22.2% 22.2% 16.7% 11.1% 5.6% 11.1% 11.1% 0.0%  
Assault (Non-domestic) 39 12 16 7 4 8 10 5 101
38.6% 11.9% 15.8% 6.9% 4.0% 7.9% 9.9% 5.0%  
Cause Disturbance 31 27 18 3 1 9 1 1 91
34.1% 29.7% 19.8% 3.3% 1.1% 9.9% 1.1% 1.1%  
Domestic Dispute 21 21 10 1 1 11 12 3 80
26.3% 26.3% 12.5% 1.3% 1.3% 13.8% 15.0% 3.8%  
Firearms Complaint 0 0 1 2 1 5 1 0 10
0.0% 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 10.0% 50.0% 10.0% 0.0%  
Impaired Driving 13 3 1 3 0 3 0 0 23
56.5% 13.0% 4.3% 13.0% 0.0% 13.0% 0.0% 0.0%  
Mental Health 14 13 4 1 29 12 8 0 81
17.3% 16.0% 4.9% 1.2% 35.8% 14.8% 9.9% 0.0%  
Suicidal Person 3 2 1 0 24 4 5 0 39
7.7% 5.1% 2.6% 0.0% 61.5% 10.3% 12.8% 0.0%  
Traffic Stop 1 2 0 6 0 3 0 0 12
8.3% 16.7% 0.0% 50.0% 0.0% 25.0% 0.0% 0.0%  
Weapons (Non-firearm) 6 3 2 3 8 10 14 4 50
12.0% 6.0% 4.0% 6.0% 16.0% 20.0% 28.0% 8.0%  
Other 16 12 11 14 0 17 3 4 77
20.8% 15.6% 14.3% 18.2% 0.0% 22.1% 3.9% 5.2%  

Section Three: At-Risk Populations

There are two groups of subjects that the Commission analyzes separately in order to examine usage rates and to identify areas of concern. The first are youths, defined here as subjects whose age ranges from 13 to 17, while the second are subjects identified in reports as exhibiting mental health issues and/or suicidal behaviour. This section of the report uses descriptive statistics to better understand the nature of cases involving these groups.

Graph 3: Deployment Mode Related to At-Risk Populations

Graph 3: Deployment Mode Related  to At-Risk Populations

Youths Aged 13-1738

The Commission remains concerned about reports of CEW usage against youths; however, the proportion of CEW reports involving youths decreased very slightly in 2009. The rate of 5.17% sits right at the average for the whole period (5.18%) (see Table 32). The figures related to CEW deployment increased slightly, but the level is still below the historical average. In general, it would be fair to conclude that levels of CEW deployment and deployment for this age group were essentially remained unchanged from 2008.

Based on the data included in the RCMP CEW database, the Commission was able to identify a rough profile of youths who were subjected to a CEW deployment: the encounter most likely involved a male, aged 17, who would be armed with a weapon, typically a knife, and if under the influence of a substances it would most likely be alcohol. The incident generally occurred between 8 p.m. and midnight and involved two members who were responding to an incident type that was identified as "Assault (non-domestic)."

Due to the relatively small number of cases involving youths, considerable care must be taken in interpreting even descriptive results. Still, there were several notable differences when "youth cases" were compared with the overall results. For example, compared to the overall figures, reports involving youths were proportionately more likely from "E" Division (44.4% for youths, vs. 36.1% overall) and proportionately much less likely in "K" Division (8.3% vs. 19.4% overall). Table 26 also indicates that youths were more likely to be involved in incidents involving non-domestic assault. According to Table 27, youth reports were much less likely to involve substance use (50% vs. 80.2%), and much more likely to involve weapons (66.7% vs. 48.2%).

In an effort to put CEW deployment against youths in context, the Commission sought to examine the circumstances of such deployments. It should be made clear that the Commission is not assessing if the force used was appropriate, rather it is relaying the details of the interaction as reported by members which influenced their assessment of the situation. What follows are examples39 of CEW use and the situations that members were faced with:

1. The most common circumstance resulting in a CEW report for a youth involved weapons (eight cases). The weapons were usually non-lethal (hockey sticks, rocks), but not always. The one weapons case that resulted in deployment also involved a knife:

Constable observed an intoxicated and agitated subject known to be carrying and wielding a knife. Constable drew his CEW and put the red dot on the centre of mass of the suspect and told the subject to get down onto the ground. The suspect then produced a knife. Constable fired the CEW and the probes landed in the center of the body one in the upper chest and one in the lower abdomen and it cycled for 5 seconds. The suspect dropped the knife and fell to the ground. The suspect complied with Constable's directions.

In three cases, the weapon was not in view, but was believed to be present based on the information that had been provided to the members.

2. The second largest category of youth behaviours involved active resistance (five cases). The circumstance of these behaviours varied considerably. In one case, the subject was apparently preparing for an altercation:

Members called to . . . Youth Center to assist with a very aggressive individual who was stating that (s)he was going to fight anyone that came into the cell. The youth had spent the weekend in RCMP cells due to assaulting a correctional worker. Members attended and the youth was barricaded in the cell, and had splashed water everywhere. It was evident when members observed the youth that (s)he was active resistant and bordering towards combative. The youth also had very predominant self inflicted cuts on both wrists. Member announced the presence of the CEW and the subject became instantly compliant, turned from members, and placed hands behind back.

One active resistance case resulted in deployment:

Several occupants were in the home approximately and it was believed there may be a handgun. All occupants came without incident except for subject who refused to come out of the door way. Subject was pulled out of the doorway by arrest team members with whom the subject started to fight. Members took the subject to the ground where the struggle continued, writer witnessed a member struggling with the subject's head and one on the subject's feet, no one had control, writer was very concerned for the surrounding area as the house had not been cleared or all prisoners secured. Writer believed for officer safety struggle needed to be stopped quick and regain control. Writer removed the cartridge from the CEW and deployed in push stun mode on the back of subject very briefly 2 seconds. The subject was starting to get to one knee when first contact which dropped the subject back down and the CEW broke contact, struggle was still continuing. Writer deployed again at this time another member had the subject's hand under the CEW and it was briefly deployed on member. Writer then deployed on subject for Approximately 5 seconds and the subject stated you are tasering me and immediately put his hands out and complied.

3. There were similarly five cases classified as mental health incident types. The CEW was deployed in three of the five cases. It is clear from the narrative descriptions that in mental health cases, subjects must comply immediately with instructions. Failure to do so very often results in deployment:

The subject was holding a carving knife with the point to his/her throat and yelling at police not to approach. After attempts to speak with the subject had failed, and he refused to put down the knife, two attempts were made to deploy the Taser. On the first attempt, the probes missed the subject. On the second attempt, one probe hit the subject. After the second deployment, another warning was issued that the subject would be tasered if he did not drop the knife, and the third cartridge was prepared. As the cartridge was being prepared, the subject dropped the knife, and was handcuffed without further resistance.

The probability of experiencing CEW deployment (30.5% vs. 39.8% overall) was lower for youths. Regardless of the mode used (probe or push-stun), youths very rarely (one out of 36 reports) received more than one application of the CEW. Cartridge usage characteristics indicate that "0 Probe Impacts" were more likely for youths; however, these results are based on only seven cartridge uses.

Table 26 : Incident and Environmental Characteristics: Subjects Aged 13- 17 years
  N (36) %   N (36) %
Time of Day     Incident Type    
12 midnight to 4 a.m. 7 21.2% Arrest Warrant Execution 3 8.3%
4 a.m. to 8 a.m. 1 3.0% Assault (Non-domestic) 10 27.8%
8 a.m. to 12 noon 4 12.1% Break & Enter 1 2.8%
12 noon to 4 p.m. 4 12.1% Cause Disturbance 3 8.3%
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 6 18.2% Cell Block 0 0.0%
8 p.m. to 12 midnight 11 33.3% Domestic Dispute 0 0.0%
Not Coded40 3   Firearms Complaint 1 2.8%
Division     Gen. Patrol - No Complaint 0 0.0%
Headquarters 0 0.0% Impaired Driving 0 0.0%
National Capital Region (A) 0 0.0% Mental Health 5 13.9%
Newfoundland and Lab. (B) 0 0.0% Prisoner Escort 1 2.8%
Quebec (C) 0 0.0% Robbery 0 0.0%
Manitoba (D) 4 11.1% Search Warrant Execution 0 0.0%
British Columbia (E) 16 44.4% Suicidal Person 1 2.8%
Saskatchewan (F) 7 19.4% Traffic Stop 0 0.0%
Northwest Territories (G) 0 0.0% Weapons (Non-firearm) 5 13.9%
Nova Scotia (H) 0 0.0% Other 6 16.7%
New Brunswick (J) 3 8.3% Missing 0 0.0%
Alberta (K) 3 8.3% Number of Officers Present    
Prince Edward Island (L) 0 0.0% 1 9 25.0%
Yukon (M) 0 0.0% 2 16 44.4%
Ontario (O) 0 0.0% 3 3 8.3%
Nunavut (V) 3 8.3% 4 4 11.1%
Missing 0 0.0% 5 2 5.6%
Lighting Conditions     6+ 2 5.6%
Poor artificial light 4 12.1% Mean 2.50
Good artificial light 10 30.3% Setting    
Day light 11 33.3% Interior 15 45.5%
Dusk 1 3.0% Exterior 18 54.5%
Dark 7 21.2% Missing 0 0.0%
Missing 0 0.0% Not Coded 3  
Not Coded 3    

Table 27: Subject Characteristics: Subjects Aged 13-17 years41
  N (36) %   N (36) %
Age     Sex    
13 1 2.8% Female 3 8.3%
14 2 5.6% Male 33 91.7%
15 4 11.1% Missing 0 0.0%
16 13 36.1% Weapon Involved*    
17 16 44.4% No 11 33.3%
Missing 0 0.0% Yes 22 66.7%
Substance Use Involved     Type of Weapon*    
No 18 50.0% Gun, Rifle, or Shotgun 1 3.0%
Yes 18 50.0% Knife 13 39.4%
Type of Substance*     Other Edge Weapon 1 3.0%
Alcohol 15 45.5% Inert Projectile 2 6.1%
Cannabis 2 6.1% Baton, Club, Rod, or Stick 5 15.2%
Cocaine 0 0.0% Other Weapon 5 15.2%
Heroin 0 0.0% Avoid use of lethal force*    
Amphetamines 2 6.1% No 11 33.3%
Prescription Drugs 0 0.0% Yes 22 66.7%
Other Substance 0 0.0% Avoid injuries*    
  No 5 15.2%
Yes 28 84.8%

Table 28: Injury and Medical Characteristics: Subjects Aged 13-17 years*42
  N (33) %   N (33) %
Injury Description     Photos Taken    
No Injury 28 84.8% No 31 93.9%
Puncture/Cut 1 3.0% Yes 2 6.1%
Burn 2 6.1% Medical Exam    
Marks 1 3.0% No 26 78.8%
Redness 0 0.0% Yes 7 21.2%
Bleeding 0 0.0% Proportion of Cases – CEW Deployed (N = 11)
Welts/Bruising/Swelling 0 0.0% Injury Described    
Chest pains/Short of breath 0 0.0% No 6 54.5%
Abrasions/Irritation/Scrape 0 0.0% Yes 5 45.5%
Injury After Event 1 3.0% Photos Taken    
Undisclosed Wound/Injury 0 0.0% No 9 81.8%
Defecation/Urination 0 0.0% Yes 2 18.2%
Unknown if there was injury 0 0.0% Medical Exam    
Dead 0 0.0% No 7 63.6%
  Yes 4 36.4%

Table 29: CEW Deployment Characteristics: Subjects Aged 13-17 years
  N (33) %   N (36) %
Taser Model*43     # of Cartridges Fired    
X26 Model 26000 29 87.9% 0 29 80.6%
M26 Model 44000 4 12.1% 1 6 16.7%
Missing 0 0.0% 2 1 2.8%
Deployment Mode     3 0 0.0%
Not Deployed 25 69.4% # of Times Push-stun Mode Used    
Probe Only 7 19.4% 0 32 88.9%
Push-stun Mode Only 4 11.1% 1 4 11.1%
Both Probe and Push-stun Mode 0 0.0% 2 0 0.0%
Subject aware of CEW*     3 0 0.0%
No 3 9.1% 4 0 0.0%
Yes 30 90.9% 5+ 0 0.0%

Table 30: CEW Mode of Deployment by Narrative Circumstances: Subjects Aged 13-17 years 44
Not Deployed Probe Mode Only Push-stun Mode Only
  N (21) % N (7) % N (2) %
Circumstances            
Combative 2 9.5% 0 0.0% 1 50.0%
Actively Resistant 4 19.0% 0 0.0% 1 50.0%
Threat Cues 3 14.3% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Fleeing 2 9.5% 1 14.3% 0 0.0%
Suicidal 2 9.5% 3 42.9% 0 0.0%
Non-compliant 1 4.8% 2 28.6% 0 0.0%
Weapons 7 33.3% 1 14.3% 0 0.0%
Other Circumstances 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%

Table 31: Narrative Circumstances by CEW Mode of Deployment: Subjects 13-17 years 45
  Not Deployed Probe Mode Only Push-stun Mode Only
  N (21) % N (7) % N (2) %
Circumstances            
Combative 2 66.7% 0 0.0% 1 33.3%
Actively Resistant 4 80.0% 0 0.0% 1 20.0%
Threat Cues 3 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Fleeing 2 66.7% 1 33.3% 0 0.0%
Suicidal 2 40.0% 3 60.0% 0 0.0%
Non-compliant 1 33.3% 2 66.7% 0 0.0%
Weapons 7 87.5% 1 12.5% 0 0.0%
Other Circumstances 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%

Table 32: Annual CEW Reports: Subjects Aged 13-17 years
Age 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Total
13 0 0 0 0 0 4 3 1 8
14 0 0 0 0 5 5 4 2 16
15 0 1 4 5 11 8 11 4 44
16 1 5 5 17 19 25 20 13 105
17 0 4 6 18 36 34 25 16 139
Total 13-17 1 10 15 40 71 76 63 36 312
% of Total 1.19% 1.78% 5.70% 6.60% 6.36% 4.82% 5.64% 5.17% 5.18%

Table 33: CEW Deployed: Subjects Aged 13-17 years
Age 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Total
13 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2
14 0 0 0 0 4 3 0 0 7
15 0 1 4 4 8 5 5 2 29
16 0 3 5 15 15 19 7 3 67
17 0 2 6 15 29 23 9 5 89
Total 13-17 0 6 15 34 56 51 21 11 194
% of Total 0.00 1.21% 6.28% 6.67% 6.31% 4.51% 3.71% 3.97% 4.66%

Mental Health/Suicide

To facilitate analysis, in this section, mental health and suicidal incident types are combined under the heading Mental Health. As shown in Table 38, the proportion of CEW reports involving mental health incidents has remained consistent since 2002. As with overall deployment, the percentage of mental health related cases resulting in deployment has declined rapidly since 2004. However, the decrease for 2009 was far smaller than for that of overall cases. The deployment rate of 49.6% for mental health incidents was significantly higher than it was for non-mental health cases (39.2%). Of equal concern is the fact that the percentage of CEW reports of deployment that are mental health-related has shown an increase for four straight years. The jump in 2009 was the largest year-to-year jump ever, and the rate of almost 25% was the highest ever recorded. Also worrisome is the fact that mental health incidents resulted in more deployments than did any other incident type.

Graph 4: CEW Deployment Related to Mental Health Incidents46

Graph 4: Deployments by Year

The concern, therefore, is that there was no discernable evidence that mental health cases were any more risky than other incident types. The proportion of mental health reports involving a weapon was significantly larger than for reports overall, but, as noted earlier, in the majority of these cases the weapon was being used in a self-injurious manner. Otherwise, there was nothing obvious that distinguished the circumstances of mental health incidents, except for the subjects themselves.

Based on the data provided for in the RCMP CEW database, the Commission was able to identify a rough profile of those who had been identified as experiencing mental health issues and who were subjected to a CEW deployment: the encounter most likely involved a male, between the ages of 20-29, who was under the influence of a substance (most likely alcohol or prescription drugs) and armed with a weapon, typically a knife. The incident generally occurred between midnight and 4 a.m. and usually involved two members.

As with deployments against youths, the Commission attempted to place these situations in context. Below are examples47 of what members were facing:

1. In about 40% of mental health cases, the primary defining characteristic of the event was the subject's apparent mental state. Approximately, two thirds of these cases involved a weapon that was plainly in view, while weapons were suspected in another 10-15% of cases. Although it was almost never explicit, whether or not the CEW was deployed in the cases seemed to be based on the immediacy of potential weapon use. In other words, the CEW was much more likely to be deployed if the weapon in question was already in a position to carry out grievous bodily injury. Consider the following cases:

A.
Police responded to a report of a subject carrying a knife and threatening self harm. The subject has a history of suicidal threats and attempts. Subject located walking on the roadway carrying a large knife. Five members attended. Pistols were drawn by several members, including the Lead Investigator. The CEW was drawn and aimed at subject of complaint, who complied with demands of Lead Investigator. The CEW member made no verbal directives so as not to interrupt Lead Investigator or cause confusion for subject. The emotional disturbed subject looked directly at the CEW; Writer believes the subject was aware of it's presence (emphasis added).

B.
Subject was very agitated and emotionally disturbed. The subject had been threatening people with a knife prior to members' arrival at the residence. Upon arrival, the subject was found in kitchen holding a knife to his/her throat, and would not comply to verbal commands to drop the knife. The distance between subject and members was 2-3 meters. The subject was ordered numerous times to drop knife or (s)he would be tasered. The subject refused. The Taser was deployed. The lower dart hit the center chest but did not penetrate thick clothing. The upper dart shot over subject's right shoulder. Prior to new cartridge being loaded and deployed the subject threw knife to floor and was arrested without incident (emphasis added).

There are essentially two differences between these cases. In scenario A, the subject was carrying a weapon, but there was no indication of imminent use. In contrast, holding the weapon to one's throat (scenario B) was always taken as evidence that the subject was about to commit serious harm. The other main difference was that the subject in scenario A complied with commands, while the subject in scenario B did not. It is important to note, however, that "compliance" was often interpreted differently in mental health cases. Specifically, owing to the presence of weapons and the perceived irrationality of the subjects, the threshold for compliance was generally much lower than in other circumstances. In short, the narrative descriptions seemed to indicate that exigence was even more important than compliance.

2. There were 17 cases which began as mental health events but which ultimately became defined by the assaultive or combative nature of the subject.

Members responded to a complaint of a suicidal subject, who had reportedly taken prescription pills with alcohol. The residence was secured and no one answered the door, so the attending members forced entry, with exigent circumstances. When members approached a staircase to the upper level the subject stated that (s)he was armed with a rifle and that (s)he would "shoot police between the eyes" if they came upstairs. After approximately 1.5 hours of refusing to come down the stairs the subject then charged down the staircase and confronted the members that were present. The subject then physically confronted Corporal, at which point a physical struggle ensued on the couch. Constable 1 then deployed his CEW into the subject's chest making contact for the full 5 second cycle, but the subject proceeded to tear off the copper wire from the embedded probes. Constable 2 then deployed his CEW at the subjects chest making contact for the full 5 second cycle and again the subject was able to pull at the probes and the subject was not immobilized. It is unclear if the subject actually received both full 5 second cycle's as the subject was pulling at the wires attached to the probes. Constable 2 then closed the distance and utilized the CEW in the push stun mode into the subjects chest making contact for the full 5 second cycle. Members then used empty hand control soft techniques to successfully handcuff the subject. The 4 probes were then removed from the subject and EHS was called into the residence to examine the subject.

The vast majority of combative mental health subjects (15 out of 17, or 88%) resulted in CEW deployment. This rate was much higher than for any other incident type.

3. In another 15 cases, mental health considerations were superseded by the active resistance of the subject.

The complainant called Paramedics as the subject was suicidal and had cut himself. Police attended as well. Constable spoke with subject, who became actively resistent by dropping to knees and grabbing onto a natural gas meter. Subject refused to co-operate and was bleeding from visible cuts to forearms. Subject was arrested under the Mental Health Act and still refused to follow verbal commands. Subject then dropped a phone which was in his left hand, clenched that fist, tensed his whole body and told members to "Fuck Off". Clear verbal directions had been given with continued resistance and now moving into a combative posture. Members used empty hand control methods in an effort to gain compliance, without success. Constable gave the CEW warning on three occasions, which were each met with "Go ahead, Taser me!" Constable then drew the CEW from his holser, removed the cartridge and placed the CEW on the Subjects right buttocks cheek and applied the device in push stun mode. After three seconds Constable was able to get the subjects right arm behind back. The subject continued to resist with police and the CEW was moved to the left buttocks cheek and again applied. After three seconds the left arm was moved to the back and the handcuffs were applied. The CEW was then secured and the subject moved to an ambulance stretcher and transported to hospital for assessment. No members or paramedics were injured in the scuffle, nor were there any further injuries sustained to the subject who was clearly intent on injuring self.

The rate of deployment for active resistance cases, while much lower than for assaultive cases, at 67%, was still very high compared to other incident types.

4. In many cases, mental health cases are identified as such because of their histories with the police:

[...] [M]embers responded to a complaint of a suicidal subject who was well to [sic] know Police from past experiences.

Police responded to a report of a subject carrying a knife and threatening to harm self. The subject has a history of suicidal threats and attempts.

Members attended a complaint where the Taser was requested at a scene of a suicidal subject. The subject is known to police as a chronic caller who is documented to be requesting to be killed by cop.

In other cases, however, mental illness is inferred by apparently bizarre behavior;

[...] [C]onstable attended to a trailer in regards to a dropped 911 call. Dispatch updated that a male was smashing the windows in vehicle the residence. Upon attendance a subject was located in the yard of the residence smashing a wood shed with a sledge hammer. The subject was boxed in on three sides by mobile trailers and holding the hammer chest level. The subject was ordered to drop the hammer at gun point. The subject did not comply and advanced toward Constable screaming and holding the hammer above his head. The subject stopped when Constable began to walk backwards. The subject ran to the front door of the trailer when Constable was able to put a barrier between the subject and transitioned to the conductive energy weapon. The subject his behind the wood railing and then threw a three foot crowbar at Constable which stuck the trailer beside Constable. The subject kept hiding behind the banister of the front porch to prevent a deployment of the conductive energy weapon. The subject had now picked up the sledge hammer in his hand and dropped the hammer upon the conductive energy weapon challenge. The subject only dropped the hammer as he knew Constable now had a clear path to deploy the conductive energy weapon is he chose. The subject was arrested and taken to hospital and was held for a physiological assessment.


Table 34: Incident and Environmental Characteristics: Mental Health Incidents
  N (135) %   N (135) %
Time of Day     Division    
12 midnight to 4 a.m. 30 24.2% Headquarters 0 0.0%
4 a.m. to 8 a.m. 6 4.8% National Capital Region (A) 0 0.0%
8 a.m. to 12 noon 19 15.3% Newfoundland and Lab. (B) 7 5.2%
12 noon to 4 p.m. 23 18.5% Quebec (C) 0 0.0%
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 21 16.9% Manitoba (D) 11 8.1%
8 p.m. to 12 midnight 25 20.2% British Columbia (E) 55 40.7%
Missing 0 0.0% Saskatchewan (F) 9 6.7%
Not Coded* 11   Northwest Territories (G) 4 3.0%
Number of Members Present     Nova Scotia (H) 2 1.5%
1 13 9.6% New Brunswick (J) 16 11.9%
2 52 38.5% Alberta (K) 24 17.8%
3 27 20.0% Prince Edward Island (L) 2 1.5%
4 15 11.1% Yukon (M) 2 1.5%
5 12 8.9% Ontario (O) 0 0.0%
6+ 16 11.9% Nunavut (V) 3 2.2%
Missing 0 0.0% Missing 0 0.0%
Mean 3.22 Lighting Conditions    
Setting     Poor artificial light 17 13.7%
Interior 75 60.5% Good artificial light 48 38.7%
Exterior 49 39.5% Day light 42 33.9%
Missing 0 0.0% Dusk 2 1.6%
Not Coded48 11   Dark 15 12.1%
  Missing 0 0.0%
Not Coded 11  

Table 35: Subject Characteristics: Mental Health Incidents49
  N (135) %   N (135) %
Age     Sex    
Under 20 11 8.1% Female 19 14.1%
20 - 29 40 29.6% Male 116 85.9%
30 - 39 28 20.7% Missing 0 0.0%
40 - 49 30 22.2% Weapon Involved*    
50+ 21 15.6% No 31 25.0%
Missing 5 3.7% Yes 93 75.0%
Mean 35.0 Type of Weapon*    
Substance Use Involved     Gun, Rifle, or Shotgun 0 0.0%
No 38 28.1% Knife 66 53.2%
Yes 97 71.9% Other Edge Weapon 11 8.9%
Type of Substance*     Inert Projectile 7 5.6%
Alcohol 68 54.8% Baton, Club, Rod, or Stick 9 7.3%
Cannabis 12 9.7% Other Weapon 22 17.7%
Cocaine 13 10.5% Avoid use of lethal force*    
Heroin 2 1.6% No 29 23.4%
Amphetamines 1 0.8% Yes 95 76.6%
Prescription Drugs 28 22.6% Avoid injuries*    
Other Substance 10 8.1% No 15 12.1%
  Yes 109 87.9%

Table 36: Injury and Medical Characteristics: Mental Health Incidents*50
  N (124) %   N (124) %
Injury Description     Photos Taken    
No Injury 96 77.4% No 110 88.7%
Puncture/Cut 2 1.6% Yes 14 11.3%
Burn 12 9.7% Medical Exam    
Marks 4 3.2% No 48 38.7%
Redness 1 .8% Yes 76 61.3%
Bleeding 1 .8% Proportion of Cases – CEW Deployed (N = 63)
Welts/Bruising/Swelling 0 0.0% Injury Described    
Chest pains/Short of breath 0 0.0% No 35 55.6%
Abrasions/Irritation/Scrape 3 2.4% Yes 28 44.4%
Injury After Event 4 3.2% Photos Taken    
Undisclosed Wound/Injury 0 0.0% No 50 79.4%
Defecation/Urination 0 0.0% Yes 13 20.6%
Unknown if there was injury 1 .8% Medical Exam    
Dead 0 0.0% No 11 17.5%
  Yes 52 82.5%

Table 37: CEW Deployment Characteristics: Mental Health Incidents51
  N (135) %   N (135) %
Taser Model*     # of Cartridges Fired    
X26 Model 26000 102 82.3% 0 82 60.7%
M26 Model 44000 22 17.7% 1 46 34.1%
Missing 0 0.0% 2 7 5.2%
Deployment Mode     3 0 0.0%
Not Deployed 68 50.4% # of Times Push-stun Mode Used    
Probe Mode Only 45 33.3% 0 113 83.7%
Push-stun Mode Only 14 10.4% 1 13 9.6%
Both Probe and Push-stun Mode 8 5.9% 2 5 3.7%
Subject aware of CEW*     3 3 2.2%
No 20 16.1% 4 1 .7%
Yes 104 83.9% 5+ 0 0.0%

Table 38: Annual CEW Reports and Deployments: Mental Health Incidents
  N % % of Mental Heath Reports where CEW
was Deployed
% Total CEW
Deployment that are Mental Health-related
Year        
2002 15 17.4% 86.7% 21.0%
2003 88 15.4% 90.9% 15.9%
2004 29 10.9% 93.1% 11.2%
2005 101 16.4% 84.2% 16.4%
2006 148 13.1% 81.1% 13.3%
2007 246 15.4% 74.0% 16.0%
2008 175 15.6% 54.9% 16.9%
2009 135 19.4% 49.6% 24.2%

Section Four: The Northern Divisions

Due to the special issues that often accompany policing in Canada's northern region, this section of the report focuses on the RCMP Divisions: "M" Division (Yukon), "G" Division (Northwest Territories), and "V" Division (Nunavut). The relatively small number of CEW uses in these divisions makes generalizations difficult, but there are some findings of note.

First, the level of CEW use in the Northern Divisions may be slightly disproportionate to use in other areas. The qualifier "may" is used because it is hard to find a suitable denominator upon which to make such an assessment. Using 2007 RCMP demographic data, the Northern divisions combined accounted for about 3% of all members (excluding members in Ontario and Quebec, and administrative members); however, these same Divisions produced 6% of CEW reports in 2009. So while Northern divisions produced more reports than would be predicted based on membership size, in light of the small number of cases, the difference was not particularly large or important.

That is not to say that proportionality of use has never been a concern. Assuming the distribution of officers across divisions has remained relatively constant since 2002, there have been years (e.g. 2005 and 2007) where usage was quite high. But since 2007, the proportion of cases attributable to Northern divisions has fallen.

The patterns of deployment closely mirror general usage RCMP patterns. Again, the level of CEW use in the North is higher than expected, especially in certain years, but the 2009 figures are not that far out of line.

There is considerable variable in the rate of deployment within Northern divisions. On one hand, "V" Division (Nunavut) had the highest rate of deployment of any division in 2009 (see appendices for a comparison of all divisions). Conversely, "G" Division (Northwest Territories) had the lowest rate of deployment. Put another way, members in "G" Division were much more likely to threaten with the CEW than were "V" Division members. The figures averaged over the entire time period (2002-2009) are less dramatic, but the figures for the past couple of years suggest this is one area where Northern divisions are legitimately distinct. It is also worth noting that there are limits to the effective aggregating of Northern divisions. In some cases, aggregation produces valid results. However, there are other circumstances where aggregation may obscure findings. Simply put, it is important to look at individual divisions before lumping them together.

Finally, tables 39 through 46 provide descriptive statistics for Northern divisions. There were no substantively important differences between the Northern divisions and the total report database; however, given the issues that the Commission52 has with respect to reporting in the North (as noted in the 2009 Review of the Record Report) there is reason to further examine if under-reporting has occurred. The Commission would recommend that the RCMP conduct a thorough use of force review, not only Force-wide, but especially in the Northern Divisions, given the unique police-public relationship therein.

Table 39: Annual CEW Reports: Northern Divisions
  Northwest Territories
("G" Division)
Yukon
("M" Division)
Nunavut
("V" Division)
Total North
Year N % N % N % N %
2002 23 26.7% 20 23.3% 2 2.3% 45 52.3%
2003 51 8.9% 36 6.3% 16 2.8% 103 18.1%
2004 4 1.5% 11 4.1% 8 3.0% 23 8.6%
2005 28 4.6% 11 1.8% 20 3.3% 59 9.6%
2006 27 2.4% 17 1.5% 27 2.4% 71 6.3%
2007 62 3.9% 40 2.5% 47 3.0% 149 9.4%
2008 39 3.5% 11 1.0% 25 2.2% 75 6.7%
2009 15 2.2% 13 1.9% 14 2.0% 42 6.0%

Table 40: Annual CEW Deployments as Percentage of All Deployments: Northern Divisions
Northwest Territories
("G" Division)
Yukon
("M" Division)
Nunavut
("V" Division)
Total North
Year N % N % N % N %
2002 9 14.5% 16 25.8% 2 3.2% 27 43.5%
2003 44 8.8% 33.0 6.6% 13 2.6% 90 17.9%
2004 4 1.7% 11 4.5% 7 2.9% 22 9.1%
2005 23 4.4% 8 1.5% 18 3.5% 49 9.5%
2006 20 2.2% 17 1.9% 24 2.7% 61 6.8%
2007 38 3.3% 30 2.6% 41 3.6% 109 9.6%
2008 15 2.6% 6 1.1% 18 3.2% 39 6.9%
2009 3 1.1% 6 2.2% 9 3.2% 18 6.5%

Table 41: Annual CEW Deployments as Percentage of Division Reports: Northern Divisions
Northwest Territories
("G" Division)
Yukon
("M" Division)
Nunavut
("V" Division)
Total North
Year N % N % N % N %
2002 9 39.1% 16 80.0% 2 100.0% 27 60.0%
2003 44 86.3% 33 91.7% 13 81.3% 90 87.4%
2004 4 100.0% 11 100.0% 7 87.5% 22 95.7%
2005 23 82.1% 8 72.7% 18 90.0% 49 83.1%
2006 20 74.1% 17 100.0% 24 88.9% 61 85.9%
2007 38 61.3% 30 75.0% 41 87.2% 109 73.2%
2008 15 38.5% 6 54.5% 18 72.0% 39 52.0%
2009 3 20.0% 6 46.2% 9 64.3% 18 42.9%

Table 42: Incident and Environmental Characteristics: Northern Divisions
  N (42) %   N (42) %
Time of Day     Incident Type    
12 midnight to 4 a.m. 9 33.3% Arrest Warrant Execution 1 2.4%
4 a.m. to 8 a.m. 2 7.4% Assault (Non-domestic) 10 23.8%
8 a.m. to 12 noon 1 3.7% Break & Enter 0 0.0%
12 noon to 4 p.m. 2 7.4% Cause Disturbance 6 14.3%
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 6 22.2% Cell Block 0 0.0%
8 p.m. to 12 midnight 7 25.9% Domestic Dispute 6 14.3%
Not Coded *53 15   Firearms Complaint 3 7.1%
Number of Officers Present     Gen. Patrol - No Complaint 0 0.0%
1 12 28.6% Impaired Driving 1 2.4%
2 16 38.1% Mental Health 9 21.4%
3 8 19.0% Prisoner Escort 0 0.0%
4 5 11.9% Robbery 1 2.4%
5 0 0.0% Search Warrant Execution 0 0.0%
6+ 1 2.4% Suicidal Person 0 0.0%
Mean 2.31 Traffic Stop 0 0.0%
Lighting Conditions     Weapons (Non-firearm) 3 7.1%
Poor artificial light 6 22.2% Other 2 4.8%
Good artificial light 9 33.3% Missing 0 0.0%
Day light 7 25.9% Setting    
Dusk 2 7.4% Interior 17 63.0%
Dark 3 11.1% Exterior 10 37.0%
Missing 0 0.0% Missing 0 0.0%
Not Coded 15   Not Coded 15  

Table 43: Member Operating CEW Characteristics: Northern Divisions
  N (42) %   N (34) %
Rank     Usage Reports Per Member    
Constable 34 81.0% 1 28 82.4%
Corporal 6 14.3% 2 4 11.8%
Sergeant 0 0.0% 3 2 5.9%
Staff Sergeant 0 0.0% 4 0 0.0%
Inspector 0 0.0% 5 0 0.0%
Missing 2 4.8% 6 0 0.0%
Duty Type     7 0 0.0%
General Duty 39 92.9% 8 0 0.0%
Highway 1 2.4% 9 0 0.0%
ERT 0 0.0% 10+ 0 0.0%
Other 0 0.0% Missing 0 0.0%
Missing 2 4.8% Mean 1.24

Table 44: Subject Characteristics: Northern Division54
  N (42) %   N (42) %
Age     Sex    
Under 20 6 14.3% Female 3 7.1%
20 - 29 14 33.3% Male 39 92.9%
30 - 39 14 33.3% Missing 0 0.0%
40 - 49 4 9.5% Weapon Involved*    
50+ 3 7.1% No 24 57.1%
Missing 1 2.4% Yes 18 42.9%
Mean 30.7 Type of Weapon*    
Substance Use Involved     Gun, Rifle, or Shotgun 2 7.4%
No 9 21.4% Knife 7 25.9%
Yes 33 78.6% Other Edge Weapon 3 11.1%
Type of Substance*     Inert Projectile 4 14.8%
Alcohol 21 77.8% Baton, Club, Rod, or Stick 1 3.7%
Cannabis 5 18.5% Other Weapon 7 25.9%
Cocaine 2 7.4% Avoid use of lethal force*    
Heroin 0 0.0% No 10 37.0%
Amphetamines 0 0.0% Yes 17 63.0%
Prescription Drugs 1 3.7% Avoid injuries*    
Other Substance 1 3.7% No 4 14.8%
  Yes 23 85.2%

Table 45: Injury and Medical Characteristics: Northern Divisions*55
  N (42) %   N (42) %
Injury Description     Photos Taken    
No Injury 19 70.4% No 24 88.9%
Puncture/Cut 6 22.2% Yes 3 11.1%
Burn 0 0.0% Medical Exam    
Marks 1 3.7% No 19 70.4%
Redness 0 0.0% Yes 8 29.6%
Bleeding 0 0.0% Proportion of Cases – CEW Deployed (N = 16)
Welts/Bruising/Swelling 0 0.0% Injury Described    
Chest pains/Short of breath 0 0.0% No 8 50.0%
Abrasions/Irritation/Scrape 0 0.0% Yes 8 50.0%
Injury after event 0 0.0% Photos Taken    
Undisclosed Wound/Injury 0 0.0% No 13 81.3%
Defecation/Urination 0 0.0% Yes 3 18.8%
Unknown if the was injury 1 3.7% Medical Exam    
Dead 0 0.0% No 9 56.3%
  Yes 7 43.8%

Table 46: CEW Deployment Characteristics: Northern Divisions56
  N (42) %   N (42) %
Taser Model*     # of Cartridges Fired    
X26 Model 26000 24 88.9% 0 27 64.3%
M26 Model 44000 3 11.1% 1 15 35.7%
Missing 0 0.0% 2 0 0.0%
Deployment Mode     3 0 0.0%
Not Deployed 24 57.1% # of Times Stun Mode Used    
Probe Mode Only 13 31.0% 0 37 88.1%
Stun Mode Only 3 7.1% 1 4 9.5%
Both Probe and Push-stun Mode 2 4.8% 2 1 2.4%
Subject aware of CEW*     3 0 0.0%
No 1 3.7% 4 0 0.0%
Yes 26 96.3% 5+ 0 0.0%

Section Five: Members with Multiple Reports

This section of the report addresses the issue of members filing multiple reports over time. As illustrated in Graph 5, over two in five members have filed more than one CEW report since 2002; however, these figures are unable to provide information about what might be termed "multiple report members," that is, members that have had multiple usages in multiple years. Instead, this information is provided in Table 47. A sizable minority of members has filed multiple reports in two different years, while a small clutch of members have filed multiple reports in three different years.

Graph 5: Number of Reports per Member: 2002-2009

Graph 5: Number of Reports per  Member: 2002-2009

Table 47: Number of Years with Multiple Reports
  N (907) %
1 774 85.3
2 115 12.7
3 18 2.0

A comparison of selected descriptive statistics for multiple report members (vs. those members not identified as multiple report members) is proved in Table 48. Several findings stand out. First, multiple report members were significantly less likely to deploy the CEW (or, more likely to use the threat of the CEW) than were other members (64.7% vs. 70.0%). Second, multiple report members also brought subjects to medical exams far less often. In part, this is probably a reflection of the fact that multiple report members actually deploy less often. However, the size of the differential (about 10 points) is larger than the mere differences in deployment patterns would predict. There are no other indications as to why the difference in medical exam is so substantial. Finally, significant differences were recorded for substance involvement and the number of cartridges fired, but these differences where not nearly as notable.

Graph 6: Deployment Mode: Members with Multiple Reports

Graph 6: Deployment Mode: Members with Multiple Reports

Table 48: Comparison: Members with Repeated Multiple Reports: Selected Characteristics
  Repeat Multiple Reports   Repeat Multiple Reports
  Yes (%) No (%)   Yes (%) No (%)
Division     Incident Type    
Headquarters 0.0% 0.0% Arrest Warrant Execution 3.1% 3.0%
National Capital Region (A) 0.0% 0.0% Assault (Non-domestic) 13.0% 11.3%
Newfoundland and Lab. (B) 3.1% 2.3% Break & Enter 0.1% 0.2%
Quebec (C) 0.0% 0.0% Cause Disturbance 17.7% 17.2%
Manitoba (D) 8.3% 8.9% Cell Block 11.2% 10.8%
British Columbia (E) 39.6% 34.3% Domestic Dispute 13.9% 12.5%
Saskatchewan (F) 13.0% 12.9% Firearms Complaint 1.0% 0.9%
Northwest Territories (G) 6.4% 3.7% Gen. Patrol - No Complaint 3.6% 2.4%
Nova Scotia (H) 1.4% 3.5% Impaired Driving 3.2% 4.2%
New Brunswick (J) 3.4% 5.5% Mental Health 8.8% 11.7%
Alberta (K) 19.5% 22.1% Prisoner Escort 0.2% 0.7%
Prince Edward Island (L) 0.5% 1.2% Robbery 1.0% 0.5%
Yukon (M) 1.5% 2.8% Search Warrant Execution 0.6% 0.4%
Ontario (O) 0.0% 0.0% Suicidal Person 3.3% 4.3%
Nunavut (V) 3.1% 2.5% Traffic Stop 1.7% 1.9%
Missing 0.3% 0.3% Weapons (Non-firearm) 5.7% 5.4%
Substances Involved (Yes)*57 87.6% 84.5% Other 11.6% 12.2%
Weapons Involved (Yes) 32.3% 34.2% Missing 0.3% 0.4%
Deployment (Yes)** 64.7% 70.0% Number of Officers (Mean) 2.65% 2.69%
Injuries Described (Yes) 30.8% 32.2% Cartridges Fired (Mean)* 0.33% 0.38%
Photos Taken (Yes) 12.0% 9.6% Push-stun Mode Used (Mean) 0.65% 0.72%
Medical Exam (Yes)*** 21.5% 31.4%  

Section Six: Report Comparisons

This section analyzes change in the manner in which CEWs are employed in two ways. First, all of the results from 2009 are compared with those from 2008.58 Second, specific variables are tracked annually, from 2002 to 2009, to examine longitudinal patterns in CEW use. The results of these two sets of analyses are presented below.

Comparing 2009 to 200859

Examination shows that some of these changes were not substantively important, such as the subject age wherein the actual change in average age for subjects was quite small, moving from 31.0 to 32.2 years.

Similar conclusions may be drawn with regards to Division. While the differences between 2008 and 2009 were statistically significant, closer inspection shows little more than "shuffling" effects that didn't represent fundamental changes in CEW use. For division, the largest change in the distribution of cases was 4.5 percentage points for "J" Division (New Brunswick). After "J" Division, only "H" Division (Nova Scotia) demonstrated a change of more than two points. Given the small base rates for these divisions, the proportional change for these two divisions seems large (+90% for "J" Division, -48% for "H" Division); however, placed within the larger context, and given how small the changes were for the rest of the divisions, it is important not to overstate these differences.

There were a couple of notable changes (non-domestic assault rose 4.5 percentage points; general patrol – no complaint dropped 2.6 points) but overall, the picture remained largely unchanged in any important way. It is worth noting that the coding change related to cell block also contributed to the production of statistical significance, as the cell block decreased from 8.2% in 2008 to 0% in 2009.

In contrast, some statistically significant differences seemed to bear more directly on CEW usage. The most important of these changes was in relation to deployment mode. As indicated by the "Not Deployed" response category, the use of CEWs as deterrents continued to increased dramatically in 2009 (Table 53). Compared to the previous year, CEWs were 21.5% less likely to be deployed. This is especially noteworthy given that deployment in 2008 has already gone down drastically compared to previous years. In concert with this rise in deterrence was a drop in cases where CEWs were deployed in push-stun mode. Probe mode cases were unchanged. The narrative summaries suggest that subject behaviour may have at least partially accounted for the increase in deterrence. Compared with 2008, there was a marked decrease in the proportion of events characterized as combative or assaultive. As shown in Table 21, these cases were by far the most likely to result in a CEW deployment. On the other hand, there was an increase in non-compliant cases, and a new category of tactical cases, both of which were associated with very low deployment rates of 26% and 0% respectively. Combined, these differences in situational behaviour may have helped produce a lower overall deployment rate.

Despite the apparent emphasis on deterrence, there was in 2009 a significant decrease in cases in which the subject was aware of the CEW (Table 53). Still, awareness remains very high, and the substantive import of a decline from 92.0% to 88.5% is debatable.

There were several examples of trends first noted in the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report that continued in 2009. First, the average number of reports per member was significantly lower in 2009 (Table 50), as was the number of times push-stun modes was used (Table 53). Second, the proportion of cases where the CEW reportedly avoided use of lethal force continued to rise in 2009 (Table 51). There are reasons to question the accuracy of such claims, particularly in light of dropping deployment rates. Third, the proportion of cases involving photos also continued to climb. Table 52 clearly demonstrates an increase in the rate of described injuries, potentially suggesting that more photos were taken because injuries were more serious than in past years. This is further supported by the rate of medical examinations, which was significantly higher in 2009. Again, both of these variables may indicate a higher degree of injury severity or it may indicated a shift in member behaviour and an increased desire of members to have a subject examined by medical personnel or injuries documented given the current climate with respect to the use of this weapon.

The rates of substance use and weapons involvement changed in 2009, although in opposite directions. As presented in Table 51, substance use, while still very high, dropped from its 2008 levels. However, four percentage points is not dramatic. In contrast, the increase in weapons use was more noteworthy, particularly as much of this change was attributable to the presence of knives.

Finally, there were a number of variables that were identified as significant in the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report (i.e. the difference between 2008 and 2002-2007) that failed to achieve significance here, including time of day, setting, lighting, member rank, number of cartridges fired, impediments, method of sighting, duration, and cycled.

Table 49: 2008 & 2009 Report Comparison: Incident and Environmental Characterisitcs
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
Time of Day     Incident Type    
12 midnight to 4 a.m. 29.4% 31.0% Arrest Warrant Execution 3.5% 2.9%
4 a.m. to 8 a.m. 9.8% 9.3% Assault (Non-domestic) 12.3% 16.8%
8 a.m. to 12 noon 5.7% 9.3% Cause Disturbance 14.2% 14.2%
12 noon to 4 p.m. 11.3% 10.2% Break & Enter 0.0% 1.4%
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 17.3% 15.9% Cell Block 8.2% 0.0%
8 p.m. to 12 midnight 26.1% 24.3% Domestic Dispute 15.0% 13.9%
Missing 0.4% 0.0% Firearms Complaint 0.8% 1.9%
Division     Gen. Patrol - No Complaint 3.3% 0.7%
Headquarters 0.0% 0.3% Impaired Driving 4.7% 3.7%
National Capital Region (A) 0.0% 0.0% Mental Health 11.2% 13.6%
Newfoundland and Lab. (B) 3.8% 2.4% Prisoner Escort 0.4% 0.1%
Quebec (C) 0.0% 0.0% Robbery 0.7% 0.9%
Manitoba (D) 8.5% 6.9% Search Warrant Execution 0.4% 0.4%
British Columbia (E) 34.7% 36.1% Suicidal Person 4.4% 5.7%
Saskatchewan (F) 15.9% 16.1% Traffic Stop 1.8% 2.3%
Northwest Territories (G) 3.5% 2.2% Weapons (Non-firearm) 6.8% 8.2%
Nova Scotia (H) 4.4% 2.3% Other 12.5% 13.1%
New Brunswick (J) 5.0% 9.5% Missing 0.1% 0.0%
Alberta (K) 20.2% 19.4% Number of Members Present    
Prince Edward Island (L) 0.7% 1.0%% 1 15.9% 15.8%
Yukon (M) 1.0% 1.9%% 2 43.1% 40.1%
Ontario (O) 0.1% 0.0%% 3 20.5% 22.7%
Nunavut (V) 2.2% 2.0%% 4 10.1% 9.8%
Missing   0.0%% 5 5.3% 5.3%
Lighting Conditions     6+ 5.1% 6.3%
Poor artificial light 18.6% 13.7% Mean 2.68 2.79
Good artificial light 36.4% 38.7% Setting    
Day light 22.4% 24.6% Interior 45.2% 49.4%
Dusk 3.6% 3.0% Exterior 54.4% 50.2%
Dark 18.7% 19.5% Missing 0.4% 0.3%
Missing 0.4% 0.5%  

Table 50: 2008 & 2009 Report Comparisons: Member Operating CEW Characteristics
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
Rank     Usage Reports Per Member    
Constable 90.8% 87.8% 1 74.4% 81.9%
Corporal 7.3% 6.6% 2 18.7% 13.0%
Sergeant 0.6% 1.6% 3 4.4% 3.6%
Staff Sergeant 0.3% 0.4% 4 1.2% 0.7%
Inspector 0.0% 0.0% 5 0.6% 0.2%
Missing 1.0% 3.6% 6 0.2% 0.5%
Duty Type     7 0.1% 0.0%
General Duty 86.9% 85.8% 8 0.1% 0.0%
Highway 1.7% 2.0% 9 0.0% 0.0%
ERT 0.3% 0.6% 10+ 0.0% 0.0%
Other 2.3% 2.3% Missing 0.2% 0.0%
Missing 8.8% 9.3% Mean 1.36 1.26

Table 51: 2008 & 2009 Report Comparison: Subject Characteristics
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
Age     Sex    
Under 20 11.2% 11.2% Female 6.6% 6.0%
20 - 29 40.0% 34.6% Male 93.0% 92.5%
30 - 39 26.9% 24.0% Missing 0.4% 1.4%
40 - 49 16.2% 19.7% Weapon Involved    
50+ 5.3% 6.8% No 63.6% 51.8%
Missing 0.4% 3.7% Yes 36.4% 48.2%
Mean 31.0 32.2 Type of Weapon*    
Substance Use Involved     Gun, Rifle, or Shotgun 2.0% 2.8%
No 15.9% 19.8% Knife 17.2% 25.4%
Yes 84.1% 80.2% Other Edge Weapon 2.8% 3.6%
Type of Substance*     Inert Projectile 6.1% 6.5%
Alcohol 74.0% 73.4% Baton, Club, Rod, or Stick 6.6% 9.8%
Cannabis 11.8% 10.9% Other Weapon 11.1% 13.2%
Cocaine 15.0% 12.1% Avoid use of lethal force    
Heroin 0.4% 0.6% No 46.1% 38.0%
Amphetamines 2.2% 2.2% Yes 53.9% 62.0%
Prescription Drugs 8.2% 9.3% Avoid injuries    
Other Substance 6.0% 7.7% No 10.2% 11.3%
  Yes 89.8% 88.7%
* More than 1 answer per report was possible.

Table 52: 2008 & 2009 Report Comparison: Injury and Medical Characteristics
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
Injury Description     Photos Taken    
No Injury 82.5% 82.8% No 92.3% 90.7%
Puncture/Cut 6.3% 7.4% Yes 7.7% 9.3%
Burn 2.4% 1.9% Medical Exam    
Marks 4.3% 3.1% No 78.4% 76.1%
Redness 1.2% 0.2% Yes 21.6% 23.9%
Bleeding 0.2% 0.2% Proportion of Cases – CEW Deployed
Welts/Bruising/Swelling 0.6% 0.2% Injury Described    
Chest pains/Short of breath 0.3% 0.6% No 65.6% 57.9%
Abrasions/Irritation/Scrape 0.6% 0.9% Yes 34.4% 42.1%
Injury After Event 1.0% 1.9% Photos Taken    
Undisclosed Wound/Injury 0.6% 0.0% No 86.3% 78.4%
Defecation/Urination 0.1% 0.0% Yes 13.7% 21.6%
Unknown if there was injury 0.0% 0.8% Medical Exam    
Dead 0.0% 0.0% No 68.0% 57.5%
  Yes 32.0% 42.5%

Table 53: 2008 & 2009 Report Comparison: CEW Deployment Characteristics60
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
  2008
(%)
2009
(%)
Taser Model     # of Cartridges Fired    
X26 Model 26000 64.6% 83.6% 0 72.5% 74.3%
M26 Model 44000 35.4% 16.4% 1 25.4% 23.6%
Missing 0.0% 0.0% 2 2.0% 2.0%
Deployment Mode     3 0.1% 0.1%
Not Deployed 49.3% 60.2% # of Times Push-stun Mode Used    
Probe Mode Only 21.8% 21.0% 0 71.1% 81.2%
Push-stun Mode Only 23.2% 14.1% 1 19.7% 11.5%
Both Probe and Push-stun Modes 5.7% 4.7% 2 6.2% 4.2%
Subject aware of CEW     3 2.2% 2.2%
No 8.0% 11.5% 4 0.3% 0.9%
Yes 92.0% 88.5% 5+ 0.4% 0.1%

Annual Comparisons: 2002-2009

While the analyses offered in the previous section are appropriate for comparing 2009 to the previous year, they are not able to discern potentially important trends. Driven by the earlier results, the analyses in this section identify and evaluate important trends in CEW reports.61

The relationship between incident year and deployment shown in Table 54 shows that from 2002 to 2004, the rate of deployment rose from 72.1% to 91.0%. Interestingly, in 2004, almost all CEW employments resulted in deployment. However, since that pinnacle in 2004, the rate of deployment has consistently dropped. By 2007, it had essentially returned to 2002 levels. In 2009, the precipitous decline in deployment (or, alternatively, the increase in deterrence) continued. It is also worth noting that 2009 saw a 38% decrease in the overall number of reports. At this time, no one explanation for this decrease is immediately evident.

Graph 7: CEW Deployments by Year62

Graph 7: CEW Deployments by Year

Longitudinal trends in usage and deployment (including cartridge and cycling characteristics) were examined to determine if there were any areas of concern that needed to be addressed by the Commission. As shown in the appendices, with one exception, there is surprisingly little variation between divisions with the exception of the wide disparity in deployment rates in a couple of the Northern divisions (Northwest Territories and Nunavut). This disparity has been analyzed further in the Northern Divisions section of this report.

The same dramatic linear trend is illustrated for prevention of lethal force. In 2002, fewer than 10% of reports indicated that the CEW prevented the use of lethal force. That proportion as grown steadily, and in 2009 it established a new peak, at over 60%. As stated earlier, this seems to be an overstatement. On the one hand, weapons involvement was on the rise, suggesting more serious events. On the other hand, the rate of deployment keeps dropping, indicative of events that if not less serious, are at least under control. More generally, there is no quantitative or qualitative evidence to support the six-fold jump in the reporting of this variable.

The trend for photos taken also exhibits an inclining trajectory, albeit one with a less dramatic slope until 2009, when the proportional change was greater than 50%. The rationale for taking photos was rarely provided in any of the narratives, so it is hard to know why photo taking goes up every year. It is possible that members are making more concerted effort to be thorough in CEW cases. The RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report commented that "the systemic nature of the increase suggests that it will continue" and, thus far, it has.

Table 54: Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment 63
Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 86 24 27.9% 62 72.1% 24 15 62.5% 8 33.3% 1 4.2%
2003 570 68 11.9% 502 88.1% 211 138 65.4% 45 21.3% 22 10.4%
2004 266 24 9.0% 242 91.0% 102 70 68.6% 12 11.8% 18 17.6%
2005 614 97 15.8% 517 84.2% 283 190 67.1% 59 20.8% 22 7.8%
2006 1,133 232 20.5% 901 79.5% 460 292 63.5% 88 19.1% 62 13.5%
2007 1,593 454 28.5% 1,139 71.5% 644 437 67.9% 128 19.9% 56 8.7%
2008 1,123 554 49.3% 569 50.7% 334 223 66.8% 68 20.4% 24 7.2%
2009 696 419 60.2% 277 39.8% 163 112 68.7% 33 20.2% 14 8.6%
Total 6,081 1,872 30.8% 4,209 69.2% 2,221 1,477 66.5% 441 19.9% 219 9.9%

Two other variables, weapons involvement (Table 55) and injuries described (Table 56), demonstrated a different sort of pattern. The rates for both factors showed very little fluctuation between 2002 and 2004. Their rates jumped substantially in 2005, but then levelled off through 2008. Finally, 2009 saw significant increases for both. Two points are worth mentioning. First, the parallel trajectories of weapons involvement and injuries described hint at the possibility that the former may be driving the latter, but at this time conclusion must remain speculative. Second, it will be interesting to continue monitoring the trends for these two variables, to determine whether the figures for 2009 were mere anomalies, or whether they mark the beginnings of longer term trends.

Table 55: Whether Weapons were Involved by Incident Year 64
  Weapons Involved  
Incident Year No Yes Total
2002 68
79.1%
18
20.9%
86
2003 438
76.8%
132
23.2%
570
2004 205
77.1%
61
22.9%
266
2005 391
63.7%
223
36.3%
614
2006 738
65.1%
395
34.9%
1133
2007 1073
67.4%
520
32.6%
1593
2008 714
63.6%
409
36.4%
1123
2009 329
51.8%
306
48.2%
635
Total 3956
65.7%
2064
34.3%
6020
100%

Table 56: Whether Injuries were Described by Incident Year 65
  Injuries Described  
Incident Year No Yes Total
2002 45
72.6%
17
27.4%
62
2003 356
70.9%
146
29.1%
502
2004 179
74.0%
63
26.0%
242
2005 354
68.5%
163
31.5%
517
2006 618
68.6%
283
31.4%
901
2007 769
67.5%
370
32.5%
1139
2008 373
65.6%
196
34.4%
569
2009 150
57.9 %
109
42.1%
259
Total 2844
67.9%
1347
32.1%
4191
100%

The results for medical examination (Table 57) and verbal command (Table 58) showed less definitive patterns. The rate of medical examination has been on the rise since 2006, but is hard to predict based on previous years. Verbal command has similarly been increasing until 2009, when it plunged to its lowest recorded level66

Finally, several other analyses informed by the 2008-2009 comparisons were conducted: substance involvement, subject aware of CEW, and push-stun mode used more than once. The longitudinal results for these factors were insignificant, and as such are not shown. The drop in substance involvement for 2009 was not part of a trend, but rather, is thus far a single occurrence. For subject aware of CEW and push-stun mode used more than once, the differences evidenced in 2009 also were not trends, but rather, represented returns to more traditional rates. In other words, for those two factors, it was the 2008 values that were somewhat anomalous.

Table 57: Whether Medical Examination was Performed by Incident Year 67
  Medical Examination  
Incident Year No Yes Total
2002 44
71.0%
18
29.0%
62
2003 319
63.5%
183
36.5%
502
2004 169
69.8%
73
30.2%
242
2005 353
68.3%
164
31.7%
517
2006 665
73.8%
236
26.2%
901
2007 838
73.6%
301
26.4%
1,139
2008 387
68.0%
182
32.0%
569
2009 149
57.5%
110
42.5%
259
Total 2,924
69.8%
1,267
30.2%
4,191
100%

Table 58: Whether Verbal Command was Issued by Incident Year 68
  Verbal Command Issued  
Incident Year No Yes Total
2002 17
70.8%
7
29.2%
24
2003 104
49.3%
107
50.7%
211
2004 58
56.9%
44
43.1%
102
2005 170
60.1%
113
39.9%
283
2006 300
65.2%
160
34.8%
460
2007 404
62.7%
240
37.3%
644
2008 187
56.0%
147
44.0%
334
2009 116
71.2%
47
28.8%
163
Total 1,356
61.1%
856
38.9%
2,221
100%

Conclusion

This report represents the continued work of the Commission to oversee the RCMP's use of the CEW and to hold the Force accountable to the public for that use. The use of this weapon, as well as the related policies and training, continue to evolve and the Commission is pleased to be working with the RCMP to ensure that members are properly trained and that the CEW is utilized and monitored effectively and within the parameters of policy. Next year we look forward to reporting on the SB/OR database.

Appendices

Glossary

CEW Use:
This refers to any use of the CEW that would generate a CEW report as identified in the RCMP CEW policy. Such use could include displaying the weapon, threatening to use the weapon but not unholstering it, threatening to use the weapon and unholstering, pointing the weapon, displaying the electrical spark, deploying the weapon in probe mode, and deploying the weapon in push-stun mode.

...........................................................................................................

CEW Deployment
This refers to only those cases in which the CEW was used in probe and/or push-stun mode. The trigger of the CEW would have to be activated in order for a deployment to occur.

...........................................................................................................

CEW Reports
This refers to the former Forms 3996 (recently replaced with the SB/OR reporting system). CEW reports capture all CEW use, whether the weapons was threatened or deployed. The report consists of a variety of fields that must be filled out by members as well as a narrative section that provides a description of events.

...........................................................................................................

Death Proximal to CEW Use:
This refers to cases where no lethal force (for example a gun) was used but in which a CEW was deployed prior to the death of the individual. The Commission wanted to examine in-custody death cases where no lethal force (for example, a gun) was used but in which a CEW was deployed prior to the death of the individual. The use of the CEW in these cases was secondary to the use of the member's service weapon and therefore the deployment of the CEW although proximal to the individuals' death was not the highest level of force utilized.

The purpose of this restrictive definition is primarily to paint a more accurate picture of death proximal to CEW use. It should be noted that the RCMP does not make this distinction in its definition.

...........................................................................................................

Deterrence
This refers specifically to the effect of either the presence of the weapon or the threat that the weapon will be deployed on an individual wherein the mere mention or display of the weapon causes the subject to comply with members commands.

...........................................................................................................

Threatened Use:
This refers to members only threatening to deploy the CEW and not actually utilizing the weapon in probe or push-stun mode.

...........................................................................................................

Divisional CEW Use69

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "B" Division: Newfoundland and Labrador – 2002-2009
  Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 0                      
2003 7 3 42.9% 4 57.1% 2 2 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2004 15 3 20.0% 12 80.0% 9 6 66.7% 2 22.2% 1 11.1%
2005 14 2 14.3% 12 85.7% 6 4 66.7% 2 33.3% 4 66.7%
2006 21 3 14.3% 18 85.7% 12 3 25.0% 5 41.7% 0 0.0%
2007 31 18 58.1% 13 41.9% 8 5 62.5% 2 25.0% 1 12.5%
2008 43 23 53.5% 20 46.5% 16 12 75.0% 4 25.0% 0 0.0%
2009 17 10 58.8% 7 41.2% 4 4 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Total 148 62 41.9% 86 58.1% 57 36 63.2% 15 26.3% 6 10.5%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "D" Division: Manitoba – 2002-2009
  Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 2 0 0.0% 2 100.0% 0            
2003 41 3 7.3% 38 92.7% 6 4 66.7% 1 16.7% 0 0.0%
2004 5 0 0.0% 5 100.0% 1 1 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2005 73 12 16.4% 61 83.6% 19 11 57.9% 6 31.6% 2 10.5%
2006 133 18 13.5% 115 86.5% 39 23 59.0% 9 23.1% 5 12.8%
2007 138 23 16.7% 115 83.3% 44 30 68.2% 8 18.2% 1 2.3%
2008 96 42 43.8% 54 56.3% 25 19 76.0% 3 12.0% 1 4.0%
2009 48 33 68.8% 15 31.3% 7 4 57.1% 3 42.9% 0 0.0%
Total 536 131 24.4% 405 75.6% 141 92 65.2% 30 21.3% 9 6.4%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "E" Division: British Columbia – 2002-2009
  Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 17 3 17.6% 14 82.4% 9 6 66.7% 3 33.3% 0 0.0%
2003 209 27 12.9% 182 87.1% 86 58 67.4% 16 18.6% 9 10.5%
2004 71 13 18.3% 58 81.7% 22 21 95.5% 0 0.0% 1 4.5%
2005 224 44 19.6% 180 80.4% 109 78 71.6% 18 16.5% 8 7.3%
2006 411 112 27.3% 299 72.7% 172 105 61.0% 34 19.8% 22 12.8%
2007 559 165 29.5% 394 70.5% 235 155 66.0% 54 23.0% 19 8.1%
2008 390 181 46.4% 209 53.6% 108 71 65.7% 22 20.4% 7 6.5%
2009 251 142 56.6% 109 43.4% 58 35 60.3% 15 25.9% 7 12.1%
Total 2132 687 32.2% 1445 67.8% 799 529 66.2% 162 20.3% 73 9.1%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "F" Division: Saskatchewan – 2002-2009
  Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 0                      
2003 23 0 0.0% 23 100.0% 5 4 80.0% 1 20.0% 0 0.0%
2004 94 1 1.1% 93 98.9% 33 20 60.6% 5 15.2% 7 21.2%
2005 119 14 11.8% 105 88.2% 63 42 66.7% 14 22.2% 6 9.5%
2006 128 19 14.8% 109 85.2% 51 35 68.6% 9 17.6% 6 11.8%
2007 132 28 21.2% 104 78.8% 60 41 68.3% 11 18.3% 7 11.7%
2008 178 111 62.4% 67 37.6% 36 24 66.7% 5 13.9% 5 13.9%
2009 112 86 76.8% 26 23.2% 16 7 43.8% 5 31.3% 2 12.5%
Total 786 259 33.0% 527 67.0% 264 173 65.5% 50 18.9% 33 12.5%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "G" Division: Northwest Territories – 2002-2009
  Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 23 14 60.9% 9 39.1% 1 0 0.0% 1 100.0% 0 0.0%
2003 51 7 13.7% 44 86.3% 19 16 84.2% 2 10.5% 0 0.0%
2004 4 0 0.0% 4 100.0% 2 1 50.0% 1 50.0% 0 0.0%
2005 28 5 17.9% 23 82.1% 14 9 64.3% 2 14.3% 2 14.3%
2006 27 7 25.9% 20 74.1% 7 3 42.9% 1 14.3% 3 42.9%
2007 62 24 38.7% 38 61.3% 19 12 63.2% 5 26.3% 2 10.5%
2008 39 24 61.5% 15 38.5% 6 5 83.3% 1 16.7% 0 0.0%
2009 15 12 80.0% 3 20.0% 2 2 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Total 249 93 37.3% 156 62.7% 70 48 68.6% 13 18.6% 7 10.0%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "H" Division: Nova Scotia – 2002-2009
Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 0                      
2003 1 1 100.0% 0 0.0% 0            
2004 2 1 50.0% 1 50.0% 1 1 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2005 17 5 29.4% 12 70.6% 10 4 40.0% 4 40.0% 0 0.0%
2006 50 16 32.0% 34 68.0% 20 16 80.0% 3 15.0% 0 0.0%
2007 57 25 43.9% 32 56.1% 17 13 76.5% 3 17.6% 1 5.9%
2008 49 25 51.0% 24 49.0% 11 7 63.6% 4 36.4% 0 0.0%
2009 16 12 75.0% 4 25.0% 3 3 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Total 192 85 44.3% 107 55.7% 62 44 71.0% 14 22.6% 1 1.6%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "J" Division: New Brunswick – 2002-2009
Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 0                      
2003 21 4 19.0% 17 81.0% 7 4 57.1% 3 42.9% 0 0.0%
2004 3 0 0.0% 3 100.0% 1 1 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2005 13 1 7.7% 12 92.3% 4 3 75.0% 1 25.0% 0 0.0%
2006 69 5 7.2% 64 92.8% 35 26 74.3% 5 14.3% 4 11.4%
2007 88 31 35.2% 57 64.8% 41 33 80.5% 5 12.2% 3 7.3%
2008 56 26 46.4% 30 53.6% 19 12 63.2% 6 31.6% 0 0.0%
2009 66 38 57.6% 28 42.4% 20 16 80.0% 3 15.0% 1 5.0%
Total 316 105 33.2% 211 66.8% 127 95 74.8% 23 18.1% 8 6.3%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "K" Division: Alberta – 2002-2009
Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 21 3 14.3% 18 85.7% 8 6 75.0% 1 12.5% 1 12.5%
2003 150 15 10.0% 135 90.0% 57 33 57.9% 15 26.3% 8 14.0%
2004 46 4 8.7% 42 91.3% 19 11 57.9% 1 5.3% 6 31.6%
2005 90 7 7.8% 83 92.2% 44 27 61.4% 10 22.7% 4 9.1%
2006 234 44 18.8% 190 81.2% 88 62 70.5% 9 10.2% 14 15.9%
2007 417 117 28.1% 300 71.9% 175 115 65.7% 36 20.6% 16 9.1%
2008 227 103 45.4% 124 54.6% 95 62 65.3% 19 20.0% 10 10.5%
2009 135 69 51.1% 66 48.9% 40 32 80.0% 4 10.0% 4 10.0%
Total 1320 362 27.4% 958 72.6% 526 348 66.2% 95 18.1% 63 12.0%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "L" Division: Prince Edward Island – 2002-2009
Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 0                      
2003 15 2 13.3% 13 86.7% 9 7 77.8% 2 22.2% 0 0.0%
2004 7 1 14.3% 6 85.7% 4 1 25.0% 1 25.0% 2 50.0%
2005 2 0 0.0% 2 100.0% 1 1 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2006 9 1 11.1% 8 88.9% 7 4 57.1% 3 42.9% 0 0.0%
2007 16 4 25.0% 12 75.0% 6 5 83.3% 0 0.0% 1 16.7%
2008 8 6 75.0% 2 25.0% 3 2 66.7% 0 0.0% 1 33.3%
2009 7 4 57.1% 3 42.9% 2 2 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
Total 64 18 28.1% 46 71.9% 32 22 68.8% 6 18.8% 4 12.5%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "M" Division: Yukon – 2002-2009
Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 20 4 20.0% 16 80.0% 5 3 60.0% 2 40.0% 0 0.0%
2003 36 3 8.3% 33 91.7% 14 7 50.0% 3 21.4% 4 28.6%
2004 11 0 0.0% 11 100.0% 5 5 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2005 11 3 27.3% 8 72.7% 4 2 50.0% 2 50.0% 0 0.0%
2006 17 0 0.0% 17 100.0% 11 7 63.6% 3 27.3% 1 9.1%
2007 40 10 25.0% 30 75.0% 17 12 70.6% 1 5.9% 3 17.6%
2008 11 5 45.5% 6 54.5% 5 3 60.0% 1 20.0% 0 0.0%
2009 13 7 53.8% 6 46.2% 5 4 80.0% 1 20.0% 0 0.0%
Total 159 32 20.1% 127 79.9% 66 43 65.2% 13 19.7% 8 12.1%

Trends in CEW Usage and Deployment – "V" Division: Nunavut – 2002-2009
Reports Threatened Deployed Cartridges Cyclings*
One Two Three or More
Year N N % N % N N % N % N %
2002 2 0 0.0% 2 100.0% 0            
2003 16 3 18.8% 13 81.3% 6 3 50.0% 2 33.3% 1 16.7%
2004 8 1 12.5% 7 87.5% 5 2 40.0% 2 40.0% 1 20.0%
2005 20 2 10.0% 18 90.0% 9 9 100.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2006 27 3 11.1% 24 88.9% 15 7 46.7% 5 33.3% 3 20.0%
2007 47 6 12.8% 41 87.2% 20 15 75.0% 2 10.0% 2 10.0%
2008 25 7 28.0% 18 72.0% 10 6 60.0% 3 30.0% 0 0.0%
2009 14 5 35.7% 9 64.3% 6 3 50.0% 2 33.3% 0 0.0%
Total 159 27 17.0% 132 83.0% 71 45 63.4% 16 22.5% 7 9.9%

1 The data used for this report was originally received as a Microsoft Access database with several distinct components and then converted into an SPSS data file. Data from the Subject Behaviour/Officer Response pilot study were received as an SPSS database that was subsequently merged with the CEW cases. The following analysis offers descriptive and bivariate analyses in the form of chi-square analysis of 696 CEW usage reports completed by the RCMP between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. A chi-square analysis is designed to allow for the measurement of the degree of "dependence" between two variables. If two variables are "dependent," they are necessarily associated with one another. If the value of one variable is known, one can have a better idea about the value of the other variable. Conversely, "independent" variables are not associated; knowing something about one reveals nothing statistically pertinent about the other.

2 The RCMP has reported in its 2009 Annual CEW Report 676 CEW usage reports; 20 less than what the Commission is reporting. Also, it should be noted that this is the last year for the RCMP's CEW database as it has been replaced by the Subject Behaviour/ Officer Response (SB/OR) database. The Commission looks forward to reporting to the public on the more detailed SB/OR.

3 The RCMP has phased out the CEW Usage Report, and replaced it with the SB/OR. In 2009, the transition was pilot tested in several jurisdictions. For these detachments, SB/OR data was substituted for CEW data. Some of the data captured by the CEW reports is also captured by SB/OR, but not all. Variables for which the data was not missing, but rather, was simply not collected, are noted in the tables throughout the report.

4 The Commission utilizes the term "deployed" to describe when the CEW was actually fired in probe-mode or used in push-stun.

5 The RCMP refers to the Territories and Provinces as Divisions and for the purposes of this report the Commission will be utilizing the descriptor: "Divisions".

6 Divisions with less than five (5) reports have been excluded.

7 The RCMP provided the Commission with the 2009 CEW database information in early 2010 so that the Commission could prepare its Annual Report. The Commission does not alter the database in any substantive way prior to analysis but rather the database is analyzed based on how the members documented the use of the CEW. Therefore, the Commission does not remove duplicates, re-code or change the information provided by the members. The database remains unaltered by the Commission for a variety of reasons:

  • 1) the Commission is unable, due to the limited information and lack of access to operational files, to accurately identify true duplicates in the system;
  • 2) it would be inappropriate for the Commission, without further information, to re-code, change members' answers or change any data; and
  • 3) part of the oversight of the CEW reporting system is to accurately reflect on the reporting by the RCMP.

That being said, the Commission is confident in the veracity of the database and the accuracy of the report as it is based on the information provided by the RCMP and most accurately reflects how members complete documentation. While there will be inherent differences between the reports produced by the RCMP and the Commission, it is important to understand that the Commission's annual CEW report is a trend-based one, written for a civilian, non-operational audience with a goal to identify areas of concern and to hold the RCMP accountable to the public. In an effort to avoid these inconsistencies in the future, the RCMP has agreed to a number of processes that will ensure that both organizations are working with the same set of basic numbers for their reports.

8 The RCMP has advised that the incident type "cell block" was removed from identified occurrence types "[...] because it more appropriately describes a location of an occurrence rather than an occurrence type. For this reason, in order to remain consistent, all available information within each report was analyzed to identify an appropriate occurrence type for the 15 occurrence types listed [...]. In order to collect more specific information on occurrence locations, 'Cell Block' will be considered a location type and tracked separately in future reports." The Commission acknowledges this explanation and looks forward to a more fulsome reporting of both occurrence types and locations. It should be noted that the new SB/OR reporting system will include cell block as a location and will be available for analysis in the future.

9 χ2 = 28.23, df = 10, p = .002

10 Divisions with fewer than five (5) reports have been excluded. therefore, the valid total for this chart is 694 reports.

11 * Not Coded means that this variable was not included for the SB/OR pilot project cases. For these variables, the percentage is calculated as valid percent (based on 635 cases for which the question was included).

12 The specific nature of the 36 reports is described in the At-Risk Populations section of the report.

13 * These variables were not included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 635 valid cases.
†More than one answer per report was possible

14 Other weapons included axes, hammers, screwdrivers, pepper/bear spray, pellet guns, conducted energy weapons, accelerant, chainsaws, and brass knuckles.

15 None of these variables were included for the SB/OR pilot reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 635 valid cases.

16 The RCMP CEW dataset initially captured a report of death proximal to CEW deployment during 2009 for which the RCMP proactively provided the Commission with a clarification. The RCMP advised following a case review and confirmation with Division, that the subject received a gunshot wound after the CEW deployment but did not die from the injury. The RCMP reported that in this incident the CEW deployment was not effective and they requested the data set injury status be amended to "no injury" as the injury was a gunshot wound and not to a CEW deployment.

In addition the RCMP identified another death proximal to the use of the CEW after it had reviewed the operational file; unfortunately, this case was not properly documented in the CEW database and therefore, was not included in the Commission's analysis (see footnote 7). This highlights some of the residual limitations of the reporting system and the Commission and RCMP are working together to ensure that this does not occur in the future.

A third death proximal to the use of CEW was identified by the RCMP; however, upon review by the Commission, it was decided that the Commission would not include this cases because the individual had died as the result of a gun shot. The Commission does not view deaths via gun shot as being appropriately classified as death proximal to CEW deployment. The Commission only reports on cases where no lethal force (for example a gun) was used but in which a CEW was deployed prior to the death of the individual. The use of the CEW in this case was secondary to the use of the members service weapon and therefore the deployment of the CEW, although proximal to the individuals' death, was not the highest level of force utilized.

17 The Commission requested that the RCMP provide additional information with respect to all multiple deployments. The RCMP provided a more in-depth matrix with regard to multiple deployments. The Commission has reviewed this additional information and notes that the RCMP has more thoroughly documented multiple deployments and that this review function assists in ensuring RCMP internal compliance.

18 * These variables were not included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 635 valid cases.

19 It should be noted that the requirement for members to give a verbal warning was removed from the RCMP's CEW policy in February 2009; it was reintroduced in the amended 2010 CEW policy.

20 The chi-square statistic 0.58 (at one degree of freedom [df]) is not significant (p < 0.05).

21 χ2 = 0.58, df = 1, p = .497

22 χ2 = 3.06, df = 1, p = .086

23 χ2 = 1.19, df = 1, p = .329

24 χ2 = 18.06, df = 15, p = .260

25 χ2 = 5.90, df = 5, p = .316

26 χ2 = 4.88, df = 1, p = .030

27 χ2 = 11.28, df = 4, p = .024

28 χ2 = 11.11, df = 2, p = .004

29 χ2 = 6.71, df = 1, p = .018

30 χ2 = 2.82, df = 3, p = .420

31 χ2 = 4.06, df = 2, p = .132

32 χ2 = 12.85, df = 4, p = .012

33 χ2 = 72.36, df = 15, p < .001

34 Another member present with a firearm.

35 χ2 = 112.61, df = 8, p < .001

36 This table is intended to be read down by deployment mode.

37 This table is intended to be read across by narrative circumstances.

38 The Commission requested that the RCMP provide additional information specific to the 36 identified CEW uses against youths in 2009. The RCMP provided detailed rationales as well as more in-depth statistics with regard to subject behaviour and CEW use patterns specific to this group. The Commission has reviewed this additional information and notes that the RCMP has more thoroughly documented CEW use against this particular group and, as a matter of standard operating procedure, initiates a more fulsome review of all reports that identify CEW use against a youth which has included the RCMP going back to the reporting member to obtain additional information and initiating division-level reviews. The Commission will continue to closely monitor CEW use and deployments against youths.

39 These examples have been vetted by the RCMP, as the controlling government institution for this information, to address any privacy concerns. The Commission has reviewed both the vetted and unvetted versions of the examples and can attest that they accurately reflect what was contained in the reports. The Commission has not edited the summaries for grammar.

40 Not Coded means that this variable was not included for the SB/OR pilot project cases. For these variables, the percentage is calculated as valid percent (based on 33 cases for which the question was included).

41 * These variables were not included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 33 valid cases.
†More than one answer per report was possible

42 * None of these variables were included for the SB/OR pilot project reports.

43 * These variables were not included for the pilot reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 33 valid cases.

44 This table is intended to be read down by deployment mode.

45 This table is intended to be read across by narrative circumstance.

46 This chart shows two similar yet distinct statistics which point to different trends. For the purposes of clarity, they have been defined as follows:
% of Total Deployments related to Mental Health Cases: when looking at all CEW deployments, this shows what percentage of files were mental health related
% of Mental Health Reports where CEW was Deployed: when looking at all mental health related cases, this shows in what percentage of files the CEW actually deployed.

47 These examples have been vetted by the RCMP , as the controlling government institution for this information, to address any privacy concerns. The Commission has reviewed both the vetted and unvetted versions of the examples and can attest that they accurately reflect what was contained in the reports. The Commission has not edited the summaries for grammar.

48 Not Coded means that this variable was not included for the SB/OR pilot project cases. For these variables, the percentage is calculated as valid percent (based on 124 cases for which the question was included).

49 * These variables were not included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 33 valid cases.
†More than one answer per report was possible

50 * None of these variables were included for the SB/OR pilot project reports.

51 These variables were not included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 124 valid cases.

52 The Commission has noted concerns with the RCMP 's policing in the North, specifically: 1) the manner in which use of force is utilized by members, 2) the resolution of complaints concerning the use of force and 3) the administration of public complaints in the Territories. These concerns have been articulated in the following Commission reports: RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) Interim Report, RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) Final Report, RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): January 1, 2008 – December 31, 2008 Special Report, and various Chair-Initiated Complaints stemming from incidents in Inuvik and Whitehorse as well and the recent Police Investigating the Police Chair-Initiated Public Interest Investigation.

53 * Not Coded means that this variable was not included for the SB/OR pilot project cases. For these variables, the percentage is calculated as valid percent (based on 27 cases for which the question was included).

54 * These variables were not included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 33 valid cases.
†More than one answer per report was possible

55 * None of these variables were included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for the variables is based on 27 valid cases.

56 These variables were not included for the SB/OR pilot project reports. The percentage for these variables is based on 27 valid cases.

57 * p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; *** p < 0.001

58 In some instances, the 2008 figures reported in the tables that follow may differ slightly from the figures presented in the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report. These minor discrepancies are owing to the fact that 17 new CEW reports for 2008 were included in the most recent data. This relatively small number of cases is insufficient to alter any of the substantive findings presented in the RCMP Use of the Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW): 2008 Report. The numbers were updated for inclusion in the present report to enhance overall accuracy.

59 Two points of clarification are in order. First, different statistical techniques were required for the different types of variables used in this study. Changes in nominal (including dichotomous) and ordinal variables, such as division, incident type, deployment mode, and weapons involvement were analyzed using chi-square analyses, while changes in continuous variables such as the mean number of usage reports, and the number of cartridges fired were analyzed using t-tests. Second, with regard to interpreting effects, it is important to distinguish between statistically significance and substantive significance.

60 This chart shows two similar yet distinct statistics which point to different trends. For the purposes of clarity, they have been defined as follows:
% of Mental Health Reports where CEW was Deployed: when looking at all mental health related cases, this shows in what percentage of files the CEW actually deployed
% of Total CEW Deployments that are Mental Health-related: when looking at all CEW deployments, this shows what percentage of files were mental health related.

61 Chi-square is not the most appropriate technique for evaluation longitudinal relationships, but the crosstabs that underlie the technique are very effective for illustrating trends. More sophisticated statistical techniques were used to validate the chi-square results.

62 Divisions with less than five (5) reports have been excluded.

63 There were a small number of cases where the number of cyclings was recorded as 0 (67, 3.0% of total) or missing (17, 0.8%). As a result, Cycling columns may not add up to 100%.

64 χ2 = 113.31, df = 7, p < .001

65 χ2 = 20.43, df = 7, p < .005

66 It should be noted that the requirement for members to give a verbal warning was removed from the RCMP's CEW policy in February 2009; it was reintroduced in the amended 2010 CEW policy.

67 χ2 = 43.81, df = 7, p = .001

68 χ2 = 28.85, df = 7, p = .001

69* Cyclings columns may not add up to 100%. There were a small number of cases where the number of cyclings was recorded as 0 (67, 3.0% of total) or missing (17, 0.8%). As a result, Cyclings columns may not add up to 100%.

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