The Cost of Policing – A Look at the Numbers

by Neil Robertson, Q.C. who has worked in the field of local government for over thirty years in the provincial, municipal and police sectors and is currently employed as Legal Counsel to the Regina Police Service

There has been much discussion about the cost of policing in recent years.  One of the underlying premises seems to be that Canadians pay too much for their police.  This premise is reflected in some of the language used around “sustainability” and gaining “control” over these costs, in particular police remuneration.  Statistics are quoted that do show an increase in costs of policing.  But do the numbers actually support assertions that there are too many police officers or that policing costs are “unsustainable” or “out of control”?

Statistics Canada has been recording and producing credible data on policing for over fifty years, some of which is produced in an annual report titled Police Resources in Canada.  This article will refer to data from that report and other credible sources to suggest that these assertions are misinformed or exaggerated. It will also try to provide some context to the debate with reference to Canada’s wealth and tax revenues and the influence of ideology.

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