The Province of Alberta is proposing to replace the Alberta RCMP with a new provincial police service that will cost Albertans hundreds of millions more in transition and operational costs. Funds for this proposed transition would be far better spent addressing the priorities and concerns of Albertans by investing in the existing RCMP, criminal justice system, and healthcare and mental health supports.
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1. A Safer Alberta Comes from Investing in the Alberta RCMP
The Government of Alberta (GoA) is proposing to replace the Alberta RCMP with a new provincial police service that would cost Albertans hundreds of millions more while doing little to improve community safety.
- Replacing the RCMP would forfeit $188 million annually currently paid by the federal government which funds 30% of Alberta’s RCMP policing costs. This would need to be borne by Alberta taxpayers.
- Alberta taxpayers and municipalities would be on the hook for the full cost of provincial policing, plus transition costs. Combined with the lost federal contribution noted above, transition costs are currently estimated to be over $550 million. Based on actual costs in other jurisdictions, this could double, triple, or worse.
- The Province’s proposed police service model would also cost Alberta taxpayers $164 million more in operational costs annually than the existing Alberta RCMP , for only 56 more police officers. For the same investment, the Government could add 600+ more RCMP officers to serve Albertans.
2. Albertans Support the RCMP
Four waves of research conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, most recently in July 2022, show that Albertans support the Alberta RCMP and do not support this expensive proposal:
- 84% want to keep the RCMP and only 9% of Albertans support this proposed transition.
- 72% agree that RCMP Members have a personal connection to the community they serve, and 70% agree that RCMP officers are accountable to their community.
- 90% want a detailed accounting of the full costs of transition before any decision is made.
In late June 2022, the Keep Alberta RCMP campaign joined local municipalities and other key stakeholders in signing a Call to Action which was sent to the Government of Alberta to voice concerns over continued efforts to advance the creation of an expensive new provincial police service. This list of supports continues to grow and now exceeds 100 signatories.
3. Risks to Community Safety
From 2017 to 2019, public requests for police assistance in both emergency and non-urgent matters in Alberta rose 24%.
A transition creates real risks to ongoing policing improvements, including proven-successful crime reduction strategies in rural and remote communities. Rural policing is complex and quickly evolving requiring officers to be fully trained for any possible event or issue in large areas with few neighbours and back-up.
Collaboration among RCMP, Alberta Justice, and municipalities results in safe and effective policing that rural areas require.
In the same Pollara survey referenced above, 77% of Albertans want their government to focus on fixing the justice system by providing better resourcing and enforcement rather than replacing the RCMP.