Can we get better value for our policing dollar? Policing costs in the region in 2015 add up to $100-million
Taxpayers in the capital region dig into their pocket and fork over about $300 per capita on average annually for policing, but residents in some jurisdictions pay far more than others.
An analysis of the current police budget figures of 2015 by Grumpy Taxpayer$ reveals that costs vary substantially across the region. From a low of $39 per capita in Metchosin and $61 in Highlands, to a high of $454 in Victoria, $439 in Esquimalt, and $326 in Saanich, it depends on such factors as population, the size of the municipality, cost of living, concentration of crime in a jurisdiction, and who is providing policing services.
“Bottom line, most police budgets have escalated well beyond inflation for years despite crime rates dropping significantly,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$.
“We call on the municipal councils involved to pay even more attention to police budgets to find regional efficiencies under the current governance model,” says Bartlett, “The new regional 9-1-1 police dispatch centre is an great example of what can be achieved.”
As a percentage of total municipal expenditures policing represents a major cost to taxpayers in these urban core communities: Victoria (20.7%), Esquimalt (23.4 %) and Saanich (21.6%).
Grumpy$ analysis is based on the most recent data from the BC Police Resources Report (2015), Ministry of the Solicitor General and the municipalities. Revisions to municipal data using the 2016 Census will not be available until January 2018.
CLICK HERE >> Greater Victoria Police Cost Statistics 2015
(Population, Police Strength, Population per officer, Crime Rate, Caseload, Total expenditure for policing, Policing cost per capita, Total municipal expenditures, Percentage of total spent on policing)
It’s understandable policing costs are higher in a highly-populated urban core area where crime concentrates.
In the City of Victoria taxpayers carry an extra burden of non-criminal duties dealing with mental health, homelessness, demonstrations and drug overdoses on a greater scale than suburban communities.
Of note, in Saanich the high 2015 budget was an anomaly. Three years of wage settlements and adjustments and the establishment of two reserve accounts resulted in a 15 per cent budget increase over 2014.
Critics say that the cost to most of the municipalities policed by the RCMP is lower due to the ongoing under funding of the RCMP operations and the cost-share arrangement with Ottawa.
There have been suggestions on how to moderate policing costs by reducing overtime, increasing the use of civilians for some roles, streamlining processes, automation, off-loading of tasks, and consolidating police services or functions in the core communities or Central Saanich.
Nationally, after accounting for population, police expenditures decreased from $315 per capita in 2013/2014 to $312 in 2014/2015 (-0.9%), according to Stats Canada. This amount includes all municipal, provincial and federal police services across Canada as well as international RCMP costs.
Police Resources in Canada 2015, Stats Canada.
The solution to an ever-increasing police budget (Toronto): Fewer cops, Globe and Mail editorial, Feb. 17, 2016.
Is it time to get a grip on police budgets in the capital region? Study of consolidating core police services urged, Grumpy Taxpayer$, March 2017.
Greater Victoria Mill 2016 Mill Rates , Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce