Thank you very much. Perhaps I'll address that one, and then I'll ask my colleague David Bird to address your international sharing question.
There's no doubt that we deal within a very broad jurisdiction within Canada. The priorities in one area may be different from the priorities in another area. Rapes and murders are quite uncommon in small towns across this country, but unfortunately some of our larger cities are seeing an increase in those kinds of activities. There's no doubt that for the people who live in those communities, it doesn't matter what the crime is. If they feel it's important, then there needs to be some attention paid to it.
However, within our Forensic Laboratory Services, and I think in forensic services in general in North America, there is a capacity issue. Shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which we see on TV, have made it more prominent in people's minds. DNA analysis is a very powerful tool. We see greater and greater demand for it all the time.
Therefore, we've had to ensure that we use our resources to try to resolve the most serious crimes first. In order to do that, we have a conversation with these investigators. So if Constable Jones showed up from Upper River Junction and wanted to resolve a case for a person in his community, we would have a conversation with him to determine exactly what type of crime he was looking at. Then we would try to portray the significance of priority and the fact that we would consider rapes, murders, and some of the other designated offences to be of a higher priority for the use of that service, given that we have a capacity issue, than the theft of an automobile. I believe there are other investigative techniques that could be used to try to resolve that crime before we invoked the use of expensive technologies.
Within the RCMP, there are two things we have undertaken to ensure that the resources are more for serious offences. We discuss with the investigator where the most probative value would be in the--you said, 50--exhibits from Constable Jones, who would ask him if he could pick his best six or eight exhibits that would most likely answer the question that he wants us to answer. If we were dealing with a murder, it would be to give us the best six or eight exhibits whereby we could potentially link the suspect to the murder. That doesn't mean that we're limiting it to six or eight in total. It just means that we want to try to get the biggest bang for the buck right up front.
The other thing we're doing is using a system called a priority rating of operational files whereby, through a series of questions with the investigator, we can rank the more serious cases. You can appreciate that we deal mostly with very serious cases--rapes, murders, and sexual assaults of various types. We want to ensure that when we have a case of murder or a rape, or both, and there's no suspect, that gets the highest priority.
Through a series of questions and some software that we've acquired, we can actually rank those cases. We will advise the investigator, “Listen, you brought a case in, we've ranked it, and it falls within our grid as being an A2, and we can respond to that case within this period of time. Is that of help to you, or do you want to discuss it some more?” Sometimes investigators will tell us, “No, that'll work. Our court date is down the road, and we'll get there.” Other times they'll tell us, “No, we really want to get this done.” We'll have that conversation with them to try to ensure that we're actually utilizing those resources in the most efficient manner possible.
Does that answer your question, sir?