For well over a decade now, Net-L3 has been proud to play a continuing part in the discussions underway across Canada, seeking long term solutions to the growing costs of policing our communities, while preserving the most important elements of a publicly accountable policing system that is the envy of the world.
I believe it is well worth noting that among those that have an interest in this quest, no one has been at it longer than the country’s police leaders themselves. In 2008, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police adopted its third resolution since 2004 calling for the active participation of their governing authorities, their member associations, their municipal funders, and governments at the provincial-territorial and federal levels, to join with them in comprehensive dialogue about future options for keeping top quality policing a vibrant and affordable part of Canadian life. An interesting historical perspective on these early deliberations supported that resolution in the form of a multi-media presentation entitled the National Framework for Progressive Policing in Canada, produced in 2008 for the CACP by Ribbet Inc., and written and narrated by Norm Taylor (still available at cacp.ca for members only).
Spurred by the CACP’s ‘08 resolution and similar resolutions at the CAPB and the FCM, the interested parties came together shortly thereafter to form the Coalition for Sustainable Policing in Canada, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the first national symposium on the Economics of Policing would occur in Ottawa, hosted by the Government of Canada.
“Policing is an essential public service. It is fundamental to the well-being and vitality of our communities and to the safety of Canadians. Equally important is the need to maintain public confidence through efficient and effective policing. Our Canadian police forces have a long–standing and “well-earned reputation” for being stable, publicly supported, modern and professional. Yet, all would agree that police services across the country are facing unprecedented challenges. As public expectations continue to rise and calls for service increase, police costs are spiraling to the point where the current policing model is no longer sustainable.”
From the Introduction to the Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security May 2014
One of the most exciting developments in these national discussions has been the more recent emergence of this so-called second pillar, situated between the other two pillars of a national Shared Forward Agenda: Police Sector Reform and Criminal Justice Reform. Working alongside colleagues in the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice: Corrections and Policing, I have been able to contribute to an interesting question: “What if some of the most high-value solutions to sustainable policing might actually exist in other sectors of our public services?” This line of discussion continues to gain ground, as multi-sector approaches to community safety continue to offer the promise of reducing our traditional responses to crime and disorder, in favour of increased attention to compounding risk factors and the root causes of criminal behaviour.
Within policing itself, there is perhaps no more volatile a topic than the growing menu of options available to funding and governing authorities. From low-risk policing models to direct out-sourcing to private security services and everything in between, economics will by necessity continue to compel us to examine a wider range of service delivery options. See my recently published article on this topic here. Click to see article