Blue Line

NPF seeks same money for more RCMP

February 2, 2023  By Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Feb. 2, 2023, Saskatchewan – On Jan. 19, Brian Sauve, president of the National Police Federation (NPF), announced that the NPF had given a pre-budget submission to the province to spend $100 million over the next five years to “ensure the proper delivery of services” and fortify policing in the province. As with many other public services in the province, the RCMP members are consistently being told to do more with less. “Although Saskatchewan’s population has grown considerably over the past 15 years, the RCMP have remained underfunded across the province and our members are consistently being told to do more with less when they are already overworked, stressed, and not fully resourced,” Sauve said.

The NPF’s call for $100 million may seem like a huge ask, but over the next five years that money would be used to hire 138 members to supplement First Nations policing resources; 154 members for general duty, federal policing and specialized frontline support staff; the creation of 205 administrative support positions in detachments; study alternative policing methods. The new marshal service on the other hand is estimated to cost $20 million annually for roughly 70 officers and will be based in Prince Albert. On Nov. 3, Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell, announced, “We know there are areas in Saskatchewan that need more visible, active policing. The SMS will provide that, and work with RCMP and municipal police to strengthen law enforcement across the entire province.”

The NPF counters that the province needs to work with the RCMP to address existing challenges “before creating additional bureaucracy through new law enforcement entities.” Morgan Buckingham, regional director for the NPF in Saskatchewan, who represents 1,350 members in RCMP’s “F” division in Saskatchewan and 350 at the RCMP training depot in Regina, also questioned the government’s decision to introduce and commit money towards creating a new policing service. With the funding the NPF is requesting to fund the expansion of the RCMP in the province equalling what the new service will cost and providing more “boots on the ground,” one has to wonder at what math the provincial government is using. Further, Premier Moe stated in an interview with The Morning Edition, that the marshals team will ultimately make safer communities in a “much quicker fashion”, but it the force will not be up and running until 2026, and as Minister Tell confirmed in November, it will be in direct competition for recruits with the already established RCMP who themselves have acknowledged that the number of recruits joining the service is down.

“What the RCMP needs and what the people of Saskatchewan need is more uniformed cops. Those are the people taking calls and responding to calls right in the community,” said Buckingham said Friday. He said in November the government had arrived at their plan to create the new service without consultation with the NPF and other police agencies, a statement heard time and again by other public services in the province. With a population of 1.2 million as of December 5, 2022, the ratio of RCMP members to the general public is 1/530 (after subtracting the populations of Saskatoon and Regina which have their own policing service), the 70 new marshals will not make the general public south of Prince Albert any safer. The numbers speak for themselves.

– Wakaw Recorder

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