Mar 30 2016
The number of police officers in Canada edged downward in 2015 yet again, according to new numbers from Statistics Canada.
On the snapshot date of May 15, 2015, there were 68,777 police officers in Canada, 29 fewer than in the previous year. The rate of police strength declined 0.9% from the previous year to 192 officers per 100,000 population. It may not be a huge drop, but it does represent the fourth annual decrease in a row. It's also a reversal of the the upward trend Canadian police forces saw between 1999 and 2010.
The rate of police strength fell in every province in 2015 with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, where the rate was stable (-0.4%), and Alberta, where it increased slightly (+0.5%).
In 2015, five of 49 police services serving a population of 100,000 or more reported an increase in their rate of police strength. They included three British Columbia communities, Surrey, Burnaby and Langley Township, as well as LÈvis, Quebec and Red Deer, Alberta.
The number of female police officers in Canada continued to grow. On May 15, 2015, there were 14,332 female officers, up 1.2% from 2014. Female police officers accounted for one in five (20.8%) of all police officers in 2015. The proportion of female officers employed by Canadian police services has increased annually since data were first collected in 1986.
The proportion of female senior officers, meaning those occupying the ranks of lieutenant to police chief, more than doubled over the last decade, from 5% in 2005 to 12% in 2015.
For the fourth consecutive year, the proportion of officers aged 40 and older increased, rising from 50% in 2012 to 54% in 2015. According to the Police Administration Survey, 5% of police officers in 2015 were 55 years or older. However, eligibility to retire may not be based solely on age and requirements may vary by police service.
In the calendar year or fiscal year 2014/2015, 11% of all police officers in Canada were eligible for retirement, but three per cent, or 1,741 officers, opted to retire. Those who did retire accounted for 70% of all police officers who departed from their service.
The Codiac Region, or Moncton, saw its police strength drop by 5.8 per cent, year-over-year, the second largest fall among the 49 communities studied by StatsCan. The community's force also has 22.8 per cent of its officers eligible for retirement.
It's a similar situation in Winnipeg, where 23.9 per cent of the force could retire and the city's police strength fell 5 per cent.
The 28,368 civilians employed by police services on May 15, 2015, accounted for 29% of total police personnel. The proportion of civilians in policing has gradually increased since data were first collected in 1962. The more recent increase in civilian staff has mainly been driven by the growing number of management/professionals employed by police services.
Year-end operating expenditures for police services in Canada in 2014/2015 totalled $13.9 billion in current dollars. These expenditures comprised salaries and wages (66%), benefits (15%), and other operating expenditures (19%). When adjusting for inflation, police spending increased annually from 1997/1998 to 2010/2011. Since then, police operating expenditures have been relatively stable, and were unchanged in 2014/2015. However, when considering the population of Canada and inflation, policing costs per capita declined 0.9% in 2014/2015. In current dollars, annual police operating expenditures in 2014/2015 totalled $391 for every Canadian.
Largest Decreases, %
- Richmond, B.C: -11.6
- Codiac Region (Moncton), N.B.: -5.8
- Coquitlam, B.C.: -5.1
- Winnipeg, Man.: -5
- Laval, Que.: -4.6
Largest % of cops eligible for retirement
- St. John's, N.L.: 33.4
- Winnipeg, Man.: 23.9
- Codiac Region (Moncton), N.B.: 22.8
- Victoria, B.C.: 21
- Hamilton, Ont.: 20.6
(Statistics Canada, National Post)