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 costs, operational costs, and the loss of federal subsidies. 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.
1. Paying More for Less
The Government of Alberta (GoA) is proposing to replace the Alberta RCMP with an Alberta Provincial Police Service (APPS) that would cost Albertans hundreds of millions more for fewer boots on the ground.
- The federal government pays 30% of Alberta’s RCMP policing costs – about $188 million annually.
- If Alberta were to replace the RCMP, Alberta taxpayers and municipalities would be on the hook for the full cost of provincial policing, plus transition costs that are currently estimated to be ~$371.5 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 than the existing Alberta RCMP every year. For the same investment, the Government could add 600+ new RCMP officers to serve Albertans.
2. Albertans Support the RCMP
An online survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights from July 6-19, 2022, shows 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 supporters in signing a Call to Action which was sent to the Government of Alberta, to voice concern over continued efforts to advance the creation of an expensive new provincial police service. This list of supports continues to grow.
In 2021, the Government's own Fair Deal Panel surveys showed that Albertan's do not support the idea of a provincial police service with only 35% of Fair Deal Survey respondents supporting the idea, ranking it second last in terms of priorities.
3. Risks to Community Safety
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.
- The Alberta RCMP dedicated 30 officers and 40 civilians to a Crime Reduction Strategy, which has led to a successful 10% decrease in crime rates for rural detachments and 6% for municipal detachments in 2018. An expensive, smaller, and disruptive new police force would put this progress at risk.
- From 2017 to 2019, public requests for police assistance in both emergency and non-urgent matters in Alberta have risen 24%.
- Collaboration among RCMP, Alberta Justice, and municipalities results in safe and effective policing that rural areas require.
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