KEEP THE RCMP
The Alberta government wants to replace the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with a much-reduced provincial police force in order to save money.
If Alberta chooses to go down this path, this could result in a major disruption to policing services in the short term, and potential job losses not only for hundreds of RCMP but also for the 700 people who work in public service jobs with the RCMP throughout the province.
The government’s main argument is that a provincial police force would be most efficient and cost effective. However, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, commissioned by the Alberta government and released last Fall, doesn’t share the same conclusion. The APPS Transition Study concluded that Alberta would have fewer trained officers at a higher cost under the proposed provincial police service!
It remains unclear if the federal government would continue providing the current $170 million in funding to the province if it severed its relationship with the RCMP.
In fact there are many important questions that have yet to be answered, such as where costly transition funds will come from and how the government plans to recruit officers when so many police departments are already struggling to recruit.
In addition, there is no indication that Albertans wish to sever ties with the RCMP. A recent survey by the National Police Federation, the union representing RCMP members, found that 80 per cent of respondents living in areas policed by the RCMP were very or somewhat satisfied with the service they received.
Like many Albertans, the National Police Federation (NPF) is alarmed that the Alberta Provincial Police Service (APPS) Transition Study recommended a smaller Alberta Provincial Police Service than the current Alberta RCMP model, while costing hundreds of millions of dollars more each year when you include losing $188 million in federal contributions. This doesn’t even include the hundreds of millions required for transition costs over several years.
Lack of Consultation
The NPF is increasingly concerned that the Province will push through the transition to an APPS without properly consulting regular Albertans and taxpayers. “Unfortunately, we have only heard the government ask how a transition can be done, and not if a transition should even be explored. This, along with the lack of any meaningful consultation with the constituents you serve, is unfair, undemocratic, and disrespectful.”
The government’s failure to consult with residents and the lack of transparency around this proposed transition should have Albertans very concerned.
We need to act fast!
Where will money for this transition come from?
Why would the Province consider less fully trained officers than what Albertans have with the current RCMP contingent?
Where and how will the Province train enough officers to fill the ranks of a new APPS?
How would an APPS do things any better than the RCMP can now?
When will a true feasibility study be conducted to understand the full cost impacts, as recommended in the APPS Transition Study?
According to the National Police Federation, a transition creates real risks to ongoing policing improvements, including 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 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 so far. An expensive, smaller, and disruptive new police force would put this progress at risk.
NPF data shows that from 2017 to 2018, public requests for police assistance in both emergency and non-urgent matters in Alberta rose 24%.
Current Public Opinion
A recent online survey conducted by Pollara from October 27 to November 4, 2021, 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
92% want a detailed accounting of the full costs of transition before any decision is made
80% of Albertans served by the RCMP are consistently satisfied with the Alberta RCMP