The provincial government has still not fully understood all the recommendations made in a special report almost four years ago which revealed that a number of weapons were missing from the wildlife division of the former Department of Fisheries and Lands.
Monday’s annual report released by Auditor General Denise Hanrahan included an update on the April 2018 performance audit which found at least 20 firearms were lost and up to 30 more were missing. in the wildlife branch dating back many years.
The 2018 report made six recommendations to recharge and tighten inventory management processes.
In Monday’s report, Hanrahan noted that the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture has fully implemented five of the recommendations, but has yet to fully implement one key – a monitoring framework for the inventory management.
“Specifically, the annual monitoring requirements have not been fully met, the gun control report has not been completed since 2019, and the monitoring and monitoring assessment of each firearm and ammunition stored in locations outside the headquarters safe has not been completed,” the Auditor General said. “The department has indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted operations department in achieving full implementation of this recommendation.”
The issue of missing firearms came to light following a regular internal review of inventory processes in March 2017. The internal review determined that there were anomalies in inventory control, and the Auditor General’s office was invited to take a look at it, as was the RCMP. No evidence of criminal activity was found by police.
According to the division’s inventory system as of October 2017, there were 476 firearms in inventory. This number included 158 functional firearms, 294 non-functional firearms (used for educational courses across the province), 13 firearms with no functional classification, and 11 firearms listed as lost.
The 2018 report covered the period from February 2017 to October 2017 and found deficiencies in internal control systems intended to protect firearms and ammunition. The period was further lengthened for the verification of acquisitions and disposals of firearms and ammunition for which deficiencies were noted.
“We found many weaknesses in record keeping,” the 2018 report states. “For example, the inventory system was not up to date, it was not accurate, it was not complete , information was missing.
Monday’s report noted that the department had done the work to establish an oversight framework for tracking inventory management processes, which included annual and periodic inventories and periodic review of the effectiveness of inventory controls.
“Additionally, in May 2021, an electronic armory inventory management system was implemented to improve record keeping and ensure the accuracy and completeness of the firearms inventory control program. of the ministry,” the report said. “However, the annual monitoring requirements set out in the monitoring framework were not fully met between 2019 and September 30, 2021.
“The Department’s last annual gun control report was in 2019. At that time, the report highlighted issues with the effectiveness of inventory controls. Since then, the department has not completed this comprehensive assessment of the tracking and monitoring of all firearms (working and non-working). Although the majority of functional firearms have been assessed, the majority of non-functional firearms have not been assessed. The ministry has also not completed this comprehensive assessment of ammunition stored in locations outside the headquarters vault since 2019. As a result, there is a risk that firearms and ammunition stored at these sites may not be no longer there or are not in good working order. ”