Meet our Information Led Policing Senior Advisor
Simon Remillard, our Information Led Policing Senior Advisor, has held a number of thoroughly interesting portfolios during a career spanning more than 30 years! In addition to his vast career, Simon is exceptionally knowledgeable about a vast number of issues, including but not limited to languages, cultures, history, geography and political science to name but a few. Always ready with a friendly smile, it is with sincere regret that Simon is approaching his end of Mission shortly. Yet, as we say in Mission life, colleagues may come and go, but true friendships endure…
- Tell us a little about yourself (nationality, professional background and experience and expertise)
My name is Simon Remillard. I am Canadian, 55 years of age, and my studies include 3.5 years of Police College, and both a Bachelors + Masters in Administration. I possess over 30 years of policing including 2 months in Haiti, 1 year in Afghanistan, 1 year in Ukraine, and one year and (almost) three months here at EUPOL COPPS. I hail from Montreal city, which is the second largest city in Canada. I started my career with patrolling, then spent several years in the tactical team (SWAT), followed by investigations in a wide array of areas, including general, crime scene, narcotics, fraud; and I now supervise criminal investigations. I also have a strong focus on linguistic, historical and cultural studies. Other than English and French, in my career for work purposes I have studied the culture, history and language of Haitian Creole, Spanish, Russian and now Arabic.
- Explain your portfolio here at EUPOL COPPS
I work on ILP, Information Led Policing. This is essentially the police activities and behavior of collecting information from all sources and police actions; analyzing emerging, shifting or migratory criminality trends, and recommending to the Strategic level how to better allocate Police resources, to act earlier or better police responses and police services. The objective is to prevent, mitigate or stop such criminality trends.
By way of example: Analysis can reveal that when the COVID pandemic struck, and all restaurants and bars closed for months, while there were nor increase, nor decrease of violent crimes, and previously 65% of violent crimes would occur between 11PM and 4 AM; the trend shifted and the bulk of violent crimes occurred between 8 PM and 01 AM. The theory and relation was made between the occurrence of violent crimes, and the opening hours of areas where alcohol was served. By plotting all violent crimes on the map, and where all restaurants/bars are located, it was confirmed that previous violent crime hotspot concentrations were mainly located close to bars. It was also confirmed that the violent crimes regions were migrating from where the bar areas were, to where the AirBnB apartments were concentrated, as they were being used to replace bars for parties. We could thus tell the Strategic level WHERE and WHEN to increase patrolling officers, and that when the National level would allow bars to reopen, to immediately shift patrolling resources from the AirBnB areas to the Bar areas, as we could anticipate the migration of violent crimes back to the hours and areas of where the alcohol sales would occur.
- What are the challenges you face, and how, in your view, may they be overcome?
There are many challenges, but none that cannot be overcome.
The first is dissociating Modernisation from Westernisation. The Palestinian Civilian Police, our main counterpart, want to modernise to be more effective, whilst maintaining their unique Palestinian culture and heritage. In the words of Samuel Hungtington, political scientist, Modernising does not mean Westernising. Our modern policing techniques were historically built on Western culture and values. We must recognize what is modernity vs western, and seek to offer modern practices all while recognizing opportunities to respect Palestinian culture. An example is a Central command of policing and emergencies vs regional committees that manage areas/Districts. This latter can be considered a ‘clan’ approach, which can be a challenge to the Central approach. The Palestinian people must navigate these waters and decide what policing model they want, whilst we at EUPOL COPPS stand ready to support.
The other challenge is time. (PPIO: we can all relate to this, Simon!) We wish we could assist the PCP in overhauling their practices overnight and give them all the best of what we can offer, but we often forget that neither Europe nor Canada did it overnight. Rome was not built in one day, and nor were any of our police forces. Montreal police has existed for 180 years, and the RCMP for 150 years. In my 30 years of policing, I have seen the evolution of my own police force (for the better), which means that after its initial 150 years of existence, there still was place for both modernization and improvement, and I have no doubt the Montreal police will continue striving to make itself better in the next 30 years to come, and beyond. We need to be patient, and not think that it should take the Palestinians 10 or 20 years. Cultural values, practices and technology will always evolve, and so should the notion of Good Governance in all its efforts.
- What do you enjoy most about forming part of EUPOL COPPS, and about working in the Region?
Firstly, the execution of the mandate of EUPOL COPPS is very important to local and regional peace, and global stability. In all the countries I have visited or worked in, it is common in our culture to be good citizens by helping our neighbours. I see this as an extension of this philosophy. When other regions of the World need help, it is relevant to try and help when we can. Secondly, this region is so rich in Humanities History, it is fascinating to see such ancient traditions and cultures, historical sights side by side with modern technology and global integration. This loops back to the previous comment. What used to be a neighbor has evolved in time. Today, due to globalisation and integration, we are all neighbors, including Canada who is a big EU partner, and who has both Israeli and Palestinian citizens back home.
While my individual help might be one grain of sand in the bucket, I am glad to be a partner of both Palestinian people abroad, and Palestinians who now call Canada or Europe home.
Simon, it has been an absolute pleasure working with you during your tenure at the Mission, and we sincerely wish you all the best in the next chapters of life. Know that you’ll be very fondly remembered here at EUPOL COPPS.