Albertans have a say in how they are served by the RCMP as their provincial service through the Provincial Police Service Agreement, which gives the Government of Alberta control of setting priorities for the Alberta RCMP. Through survey results collected by Pollara Strategic Insights, 70% of Albertans agree that RCMP officers have personal connections with their communities, and that RCMP officers are accountable to their communities.
$80 million for 400 RCMP Officers: From 2017-2022, Alberta’s population increased by 10%. At the same time, the number of authorized police officers only increased by 7%.
Alberta’s RCMP Members are responsible for upholding the safety of more than 1.5 million Albertans in every corner of the Province, from the rocky mountains to the prairies, yet investment in the Alberta RCMP has lagged under successive provincial Governments.
The Province must make investments today to ensure future needs can be met as Alberta’s population grows. Under the Provincial Police Service Agreement, the Alberta Government has the authority and power to hire more RCMP Members. As the government itself has stated, the ideal number of officers per 100,000 people is 180, meaning 400 more uniformed RCMP Members are needed in Alberta.
At the same time, last year’s (2023) Budget only delivered increased funding to the Alberta Sheriffs and to municipal police services in urban centres, while ignoring the critical requirement to increase the number of fully trained RCMP officers in rural and suburban Albertan communities.
Further changes to the police funding formula have also left municipalities on the hook for more of their policing costs, and while these municipal contributions were to be reinvested into local policing services, the government has fallen short on this commitment.
While the Alberta Crime Severity Index has decreased by 9.5%, demonstrating the outstanding work of the Alberta RCMP, calls for service continue to rise. Between 2017 and 2021, calls for service increased by 8%, from 650,080 in 2017 to 701,126 in 2021. All these factors show that a fully resourced Alberta RCMP is necessary for keeping communities safe.
Rather than investing in additional personnel that only benefit urban areas, the Province must invest in the fully-trained expertise of the Alberta RCMP.
The Government of Alberta is encouraging municipalities to use a provincial $30,000 Indigenous and municipal police transition study grant to examine their community’s policing model. But we know that $30,000 is not enough to conduct a full feasibility study that examines all the costs and impacts associated with a potential transition which is what’s really needed to make a fully informed decision on the future of any police service.
For example, in 2018, the Red Deer police services review cost nearly $200,000. The City of Grande Prairie’s recent policing study totaled an estimated $400,000 and took 24 months to complete.Learn more about the Alberta RCMP’s services in your municipality
Five successive waves of research conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights show that Albertans support the Alberta RCMP!