03/31/2016 06:56 EDT | Updated 04/01/2016 02:59 EDT

RCMP Ripe For 'Less Than Professional' Behaviour: Commissioner


VANCOUVER — The head of the RCMP says harassment and bullying in the workplace is unacceptable but the nature of policing makes it ripe for behaviour that is "less than professional.''

Commissioner Bob Paulson told the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade today that unprofessional conduct among police officers and management is partly to blame on the stress, the hours and the collegial nature of law enforcement.

The RCMP have been plagued in recent years by allegations of bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment within its ranks.

Paulson says the national police force is making progress, despite a news report earlier this year of inappropriate behaviour at an Ottawa-based training facility.

Accusations of unwanted sexual touching and wanton nudity at the Canadian Police College are the most recent complaints to have shaken the RCMP.

More than 350 current and former female members of the RCMP and civilian employees are also backing one of two lawsuits seeking class-action status over allegations of harassment, bullying and gender discrimination.

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