HALIFAX – The RCMP says a research report it commissioned shows police usually weren’t aware that abuse was occurring in Canada’s infamous native residential school system.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Graham presented the research report today to the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is holding hearings in Halifax.

Graham says the police acted on behalf of the federal government to tell parents they had to send their children to the schools and to track down children who had run away from the schools.

He says police sometimes investigated reports of abuse, but says the schools were a “closed system” and most problems in the schools didn’t attract police attention or intervention.

The report covers more than 100 years and represents the first complete assessment of the RCMP’s involvement in the Indian Residential School system.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has a five-year mandate to document the history of residential schools, inspire reconciliation and produce a report by 2014.

The first government-funded, church-run residential schools opened in the 1870s. The last one closed outside Regina in 1996.

(The Canadian Press)