Writing in the Globe and Mail, columnist Margaret Wente draws attention to the rising costs of policing in Orangeville, Ont. as an example of expanding police budgets. “That’s the way it is across much of Canada”, she writes. The cops and firefighters are taking home the biggest paycheques in town. While other public-sector salaries are frozen, their pay is rising faster than inflation. And the cost is eating small-town budgets alive”.
Wente cites a new MLI study by Queen’s and RMC professor Christian Leuprecht which examines the factors driving the growth of police budgets in Canada and makes recommendations to reduce costs by reevaluating the kinds of jobs we expect highly paid, uniformed officers to perform. Wente writes: “Canada’s crime rate has plunged to record lows. But police budgets have been growing at twice the rate of the economy. ‘The police are pricing themselves out of business,’ says Christian Leuprecht, an associate professor at the Royal Military College and Queen’s University, and the author of a new report on police costs published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute”. The report is titled “The Blue Line or the Bottom Line of Police Services in Canada: Arresting runaway growth in costs”.
Also, in the Ottawa Business Journal, Ottawa Police Services Board chairman Eli El-Chantiry is reported to be considering measures similar to those recommended in the MLI paper, saying, “Really, do you need a police officer to do traffic (control)?” The OBJ reports that “Those in the security industry say the Macdonald-Laurier study highlights a golden opportunity for private companies”, to offer services currently performed by uniformed officers.