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A significant shortage of Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers is raising concerns about their safety and the safety of the communities in which they work, according to several Mounties speaking out from across Canada.

With more than 12 percent of positions unfilled, RCMP members, speaking on the record and on background, tell CTVNews.ca that they're worried about the number of vacancies.

The lack of front-line officers is leading to stress, burnout and even to departures for other police forces, these members say.

"The HR crisis is the number one thing affecting our organization and there's no overnight fix to it," said Brian Sauvé, who serves as national executive co-chair for the National Police Federation, the organization that looks likeliest to become the union for the RCMP.

"There's no magic bullet to finding 4,000 or 5,000 more police officers that can alleviate our HR crisis in a timely fashion. It's going to be years," he said.

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