BC – The BC RCMP Federal Policing Border Integrity Program and numerous domestic and international partner agencies recently conducted a joint maritime law enforcement and security exercise in the San Juan and Gulf Islands.
Being jointly responsible for securing Canada’s border on land, air, and water, the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) program works closely with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. partner agencies to detect, prevent, and deter illegal activity that may pose a threat to the safety and security of Canada, the United States, and the international community.
U.S. and Canadian Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM) partners involved in this operation included the BC RCMP Federal Policing Pacific Shiprider Program, the CBSA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department.
This was also the first time the BC RCMP Border Integrity Centre (BIOC) was used as the command centre in ReCoM operations where it provided maritime operating and intelligence support throughout the exercise. The BIOC’s advanced technological capabilities include sophisticated cameras, sensors, vessel radar tracking systems, and the E2MV (911) System; therefore, all maritime operations in the Pacific Region are carried out with the support of the BIOC. The BIOC is well suited for large and lengthy maritime operations, coordinating surface and air assets, as well as detecting irregular land-border activities in support of land-border enforcement teams.
As fully trained subject matter experts in the maritime domain with proficiency in the use and interpretation of maritime radar and other marine technologies, the BC RCMP BIOC’s highly trained operators are a key part of Canada’s border defence system.
One of the participating units in the exercise was the Maritime Security Response Team-West (MSRT-W) Precision Marksmen Observer Team (PMOT), a joint Coast Guard tactical unit specializing in maritime counter terrorism and high-risk law enforcement operations. The MSRT-W PMOT members conducted real time vessel targeting information, while collaborating with the Pacific Shiprider partner vessels crewed by specially trained and designated Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officers.
During the live exercise, a number of suspicious vessels were identified and subsequently boarded by the U.S. Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) and its accompanying RCMP FSOC Shiprider officers, leading to the discovery of several individuals on board who were associated to transnational organized crime activities.
“The remarkable level of interagency cooperation illustrated in the execution of this large-scale multilateral joint exercise is a demonstration of our ability, and readiness to collaboratively defend against the most serious and complex threats facing Canada, the United States, and the international community,” said Assistant Commissioner Will Ng, Officer in Charge of BC RCMP Criminal Operations, Federal Investigative Services and Organized Crime (FISOC).
The BC RCMP Border Integrity program will continue to partake in joint maritime operations that strengthen interagency partnerships in order to enhance our collective ability to secure our border against the greatest national security and criminal threats.
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