The Unsustainable Costs of the Public Police
From: Canadian Policing
In The Unsustainable Cost of the Public Police author Kent Roach explores where all the money given to policing across Canada goes. With the average police salary at $118,000, Canada spends $15.7 billion on the public police, and the RCMP through contract policing have made another $1.8 billion in revenues from charges to cities, provinces, and territories for their services, which raising a question: are taxpayers getting the value for the money spent on policing? Roach argues no. This chapter explores how despite growing budgets, most police forces have been cutting major services in recent years; they have, for example, reduced patrol hours and purposely understaffed many of their rural postings. The chapter explores budgets, cuts, bureaucracy, and training, as well as suggests alternative ways to spend our tax dollars on community safety such as civilian specialists to respond to rising cybercrime, mental health alerts, community service, and wellness both justifying tax dollar spending but also saving lives.
Kent Roach is a professor of law at the University of Toronto. He formerly served as law clerk to Justice Bertha Wilson of the Supreme Court and as director of research to numerous inquiries and reviews, including the Commission of Inquiry into the Bombing of Air India Flight 182 and the Independent Review of the Toronto Police’s Missing Persons Investigations that resulted in the Missing and Missed Report (2021) by Justice Gloria Epstein. He also served on the research advisory committees for the Arar and Ipperwash inquiries, which both involved a review of police conduct. He wrote expert reports on police-government relations for Ontario’s Ipperwash Inquiry and Quebec’s Inquiry into the Protection of Journalist Sources. He has served on the expert panels convened by the Canadian Council of Academies that produced Policing in the 21st Century: New Policing for New Challenges (2014) and Towards Peace, Harmony and Well-Being: Policing in Indigenous Communities (2019). He was volume lead for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s volume five on the legacy of residential schools for Indigenous people. Acting pro bono, he has represented Aboriginal Legal Services in a number of Supreme Court cases, including R v Gladue on sentencing and R v Golden on police powers. He is the author with Craig Forcese of False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism, which won the 2016 Canadian Law and Society book prize. His book Canadian Justice Indigenous Injustice: The Gerald Stanley and Colton Boushie Case was short-listed for 2019 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize and his Due Process and Victims’ Rights and The Supreme Court on Trial were both shortlisted for the Donner Prize. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002, appointed as a member of the Order of Canada in 2015, and awarded the Molson Prize for contributions to the social sciences and humanities in 2017.