Fresh Takes

Yes, policing should be reformed

Both the Alberta government and the union representing the RCMP have planned a number of town hall meetings throughout 2022 to discuss moving toward a provincial police force. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has conducted a feasibility study of the concept, finding it realistic and cost-effective. They developed a policing model which proposes new approaches to service delivery and puts more frontline personnel in communities across the province for the same or lower cost.

One way of doing this that the report doesn’t consider is supplementing the police force with licensed security professionals for non-core tasks like administration. This can ease budgetary pressures and reduce costs for taxpayers, while increasing overall police efficiency and actually reducing crime. As a non-negligible bonus, it may also increase job satisfaction for police, who will be able to focus on the work they really trained for.

In a recent study, we found that by offloading administrative tasks to security professionals, the province of Alberta could save an estimated $162 million to $216 million a year. In addition, security personnel can offer support in some less technical areas, such as traffic management, which could save Alberta an additional $9 million a year. This kind of reform has been implemented to some extent in the UK with encouraging results such as decreased crime rates and substantial public savings.

In considering new policing models and approaches to service delivery, we must consider alternative ways of achieving our goals. In particular, enlisting the help of the dynamic entrepreneurial sector is a great way to ensure that taxpayers get the most out of every public safety dollar.

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