The Unsustainable Costs of the Public Police

AuthorKent Roach
| 99
The Unsustainable Costs of the
Public Police
In –, Canadians spent  per person on policing. Today, we spend
 person in constant dollars. Most of this money goes to salaries. e aver-
age police salary is about ,. In total, we spend . billion on the
public police.
e RCMP’s budget continues to grow. It spent . billion in –
and plans to spend . billion in –, including . billion in revenues
from charges to cities, provinces, and territories for contract policing. e
RCMP plans to add more than , new ocers by –.
e OPP’s budget in – was . billion a  percent increase
since –. Despite this increase, the Ontario auditor general found that
there was a  percent cut to OPP ocers, a  percent decrease in patrol hours,
and understang in about half of the municipalities the OPP polices. In other
words, the auditor general raised concerns about whether taxpayers and those
who pay for the OPP to police their localities are getting value for money.
Police budgets are only a partial measure of the costs of policing. Police
are the gatekeepers to our expensive criminal justice system and to jails. e
Parliamentary Budget Oce has estimated that in –, it cost  a day
per person to imprison people.
Concerns about the costs of the police are nothing new and they cross
partisan lines. In , then Conservative minister of public safety Vic Toews
warned police leaders: “Police services face two options — they can do nothing
and eventually be forced to cut drastically, as we have seen in some countries;
or they can be proactive, get ahead of the curve, and have greater exibility

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT