Dr. Christopher Murphy:
Thank you very much.
Good morning, and thank you all for this opportunity to present to you some of my ideas based on my experience of looking at Canadian policing and policing in general for over 25 years. I've been a student of Canadian policing as an academic, but I also spent eight years in the old solicitor general department as a policing policy researcher when in fact the ministry had a capacity and an interest in national policing and police research. I'll come back to that later.
First let me say that Canada has a well-earned reputation and the Canadian police have earned a reputation as having a stable, publicly supported, and modern professional police force, one that I think has an excellent record when compared to our comparator nations—Australia, England, the United States, etc.—relatively free of corruption and the excessive violence that has characterized at least some aspects of policing in those countries.
Canadians have invested heavily in good government, and as a result have invested in good policing. We also invest in health care, education, etc. We've been willing to pay taxes and invest in public policing in order to have a high degree of public safety and personal security. Indeed, Canadians may invest more in their public police than almost any comparable country in the world, as measured by per capita spending, and we probably have the best-paid public police in the world. We have developed a good and professional, but very expensive, model of public policing, one that has grown significantly, as you're all aware, in police numbers and policing costs over the last 10 to 20 years.
However, the capacity and willingness of the public to continue to pay for more policing without at least more evidence of the value and efficiency of that model is at a tipping point in Canada. It certainly is in other countries, such as England and the United States. Municipal governments find it increasingly difficult to sustain their current policing costs, let alone meet rising policing costs.
In short, it's my belief, and that of many municipal police leaders and municipal government people responsible for policing, that the current model of public policing, as is, without change, is simply not financially sustainable, and that without significant change to the current model there will be an inevitable decline in both the number of police officers and the quality and range of police services that will result.
There are some possible, and not very attractive, policing scenarios that are out there already, and I'll just run through them quickly. One is to simply continue the growth scenario we've had for the last 10 years. You've seen the data—increases of about 5% a year. These are not sustainable without increases in municipal or provincial taxes, or simply cannibalizing other municipal services to pay for this increase.
In 2011 we see this increase suddenly stop, and we're moving to what I would call a static growth model. That is, we try to maintain the current number of police officers and the service levels with more moderate increases in annual funding. It's about 3% now, which means, to some extent, no increases in the number of police officers, but because of salaries and benefit increases, it remains about 3% on an annual basis. That means we'll have flat growth despite increases in population, so the police per population ratio will decrease. This is actually very similar...and we may be in a period like the 1990s, when between the years 1990 and 2000, Canada saw an actual decrease in the total number of police officers—not much, but there was virtually no growth—and a significant decline in the per capita ratios.
I did a study at that time to see what police were doing and how they were managing this period of fiscal restraint. Basically, they cut services that were considered not essential, non-crisis, and they had to reprioritize their limited resources to meet the demand they had. It wasn't necessarily a period of innovation or change, simply a reduction in the quantity and to some extent the focus of police services.
We have a negative growth option, which is simply to cut the number of police officers and cut the budgets, and that will of course lead to a decline in the level of police service and public safety. It's not a desirable one, but it's one we see in the U.S., where simply to meet financial crises in municipal budgets, they've cut the number of police officers. I don't think we're there yet, but a number of municipalities may be facing that kind of scenario in the near future, and that worries me.
Finally, the good news is that I think there is a change in the development model that is currently being explored in a variety of places. It's an attempt to manage the growth in police spending, but somehow without diminishing the quality and quantity of policing services, and to some extent even improving and expanding those services, primarily through significant forms of change, reform, and innovation.
You have no doubt had some witnesses from the English experience and have heard about the changes there, as well as witnesses from the United States and some municipalities. It's an attempt to change the current model of public policing in ways that make it perhaps more cost efficient and in some ways more cost effective. This can mean a rethinking of the fundamental policing model and the police role and their relationship to the community; the privatization of some police services, etc.; new organizational and occupational career models that allow for lateral entry; different kinds of recruiting and education strategies; new ways to deliver more cost-efficient services, such as civilianization, tiered policing, various forms of community service officers—there are experiments that address that issue—and more effective use of new information and communication technologies; and finally, a better educated and more diverse police profession and a commitment to evidence-based models of strategies in public policing.
We can watch and to some extent learn from the British experience. It's not entirely positive, and it's mixed, but at least they are documenting, researching, and evaluating what they're doing, and I think their ideas are having a significant influence on what Canadian police are at least looking at now.
I believe we're faced with the same situation as the British police and the American police. It's perhaps less dramatic, but I think it still is a situation that calls for some degree of change, reflection, and analysis. What's different about England is that they actually have an information base, a research capacity, to kind of underlie or at least stimulate these kinds of examinations and innovations.
This brings me to my last point. If we are going to adapt to the current challenges facing Canadian policing, and the more complex and sophisticated policing and crime issues, we don't have the kind of research and information base that other countries have. Compared to countries such as Britain and Australia, we invest very little and do very little either in-house police research—that is, police doing their own work—or applied academic police research. We even lack the basic information to assess whether in fact in some cases we're doing the kind of work that we think we're doing and being as efficient or as effective as I think the public and the police would like it to be.
The good news is that I think Canadian police are ready and interested in research information, knowledge development, and evidence-based strategies in a way that I haven't seen over the last 25 years, no doubt occasioned by this fiscal restraint or this crisis, depending on how you look at it. I think they're eager to become involved in a new kind of evidence-based, research-based enterprise that they see as going along with reform and change.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has reinvigorated its research foundation. The Canadian Police College is developing a series. Even the Canadian Police Association recognizes that research and evidence-based policing will have to develop more effectively in Canada.
The second piece of good news is that we do have the research capacity in this country to do that kind of work. There are growing centres of police research and an increasing number of academics who do applied police research of interest both to academics and to police. We have the interest and the capacity to develop this infrastructure. What we lack is an infrastructure that funds, coordinates, and facilitates research, knowledge, information, and innovation in this country.
In a sense, because of this, we are forced to import policies and practices from other countries, often without assessing whether they're viable or feasible here. We don't tend to evaluate whether they are appropriate or effective.
We need national leadership from Public Safety Canada, from the federal government, to coordinate these centres of regional and municipal interests and expertise, to facilitate development of a national research agenda to underline the reforms and changes that are coming in policing, and to make them as effective and efficient as possible.
I can close on that. I could certainly say more, and I will be pleased to answer any questions you may have on anything I've said.
Chief Matthew Torigian (Chief of Police, Waterloo Regional Police Service):
Thank you very much. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Chair. Thank you for the invitation to speak with you today.
By way of beginning my comments—and I look forward to the discussion that will take place afterwards—I'll try to walk you through a description of where we see all of this coming together. Professor Murphy touched on a lot of the points that I think are very important when we look at where policing is headed in Canada.
This morning I hope to share with you some of our on-the-ground experiences on some of the work we've done and the initiatives we've undertaken to determine the best approach to delivering public safety and security for our community. At the same time, I hope to connect this to the overall direction of policing in Canada. In Waterloo we are beginning to develop what we would refer to as an economic model of policing.
We've talked about the economics of policing, and we've spoken at length about expenditures and revenues and trying to drive down costs and doing things more efficiently. We often get too far ahead of ourselves at times. We don't ask ourselves why. How does this all fit together?
I would take it back to one of the reasons why I got into policing in the first place. The purpose of policing is to protect the weak from the strong. Gangs are strong. So is addiction to a substance. The strong can prey on the disenfranchised or the marginalized in our communities. What can we do as a community and in policing to protect the weak from the strong? We often come in contact with the weak. Those are the people we serve, who we need to pay attention to.
So when we're looking at the economics of policing and when we think about our clients, the people we come in contact with the most—people living with mental illness, the homeless, the disenfranchised, the marginalized people in our communities, the students—none of them pay property taxes. That is the base from which we get our budgets. So it's very important not to silence our clients and not to look just at the cost of policing.
We can get ahead of ourselves by looking at other models. We can look at some of the one-off efficiencies, try to grab the low-hanging fruit, but that won't serve the sustainability of policing in the future. When we look at this committee, we see the great work that can be done at the national level in providing leadership for the overall direction and the sustainability of policing in Canada. If there's one area that I might disagree with Professor Murphy on, it's public policing. There's no such thing as public or private policing; it's policing. There's private security; there isn't public policing.
One of the initiatives we're probably proudest of in Waterloo would be our domestic violence project. It's a wraparound approach. We've taken our domestic violence investigators and collocated them with 14 other community partners outside the traditional police service building. We have them housed with sexual assault treatment centres, women's crisis shelters, crown attorneys, counselling services. We anticipated and realized a 20% increase in calls for service on domestic incidents alone in the initial stages of this initiative.
We also noticed...and the impetus for us to do this was that about three and a half murders a year were related to domestic violence. We began this project in January 2006 after extensive research. We went all over the world and took the best practices from many different areas: San Diego, Calgary, the U.K., Ottawa. We pulled them all together and created the family violence project. We are now averaging less than one homicide per year related to domestic violence—a significant reduction. We look at it as homicide prevention.
To do this, we had to look at data. We had to look at the evidence in front of us before we could make a decision on what we needed for our community. Right now, we're starting to see the beginnings of a national initiative to have more research, more evidence, more data in front of us. We look at outcome evaluations of some of the projects and initiatives that were undertaken, and as a result of that, we're starting to inform our business decisions in policing.
Some of that evidence-based decision-making comes in the form of weekly or monthly reports that we, as police leaders, receive. We use these to analyze the work that's being done. Currently in Waterloo, we're developing an impaired driving dashboard. We're working with a software company to put technology in the hands of our front-line officers. When they log on to their mobile workstation, the map of their zone comes up and through a pick list they can actually see where all of the hotspots are, where most of the collisions have occurred because of impaired driving. We can then deploy properly.
We also have another software program we are putting all of our data into. It's a queuing model, and as a result of it we now deploy based on where we're needed, so that we have the right number of people in the right place at the right time.
All of this is to ensure optimum efficiency, but none of it comes together unless we have all of the evaluation pieces, the investment in some of the tools, and an analysis of the work being done. This is what it takes to determine the value of policing. What we're trying to do is demonstrate a return on investment for our community. It's the last piece that I want to touch on now, the community.
At the core of all of this, be it a new model for policing, a new governance model, different oversight, mileposts, measurements, community or provincial or national direction—all of this speaks to creating the lighthouse, a beacon for us to move towards. We want to look at this ecosystem of work, which is a very comprehensive business. We take the research, apply it to some of the tools, and build capacity within our organizations. We develop leaders. We make sure that we can demonstrate a return on investment. We do this by assessing what we have. We need strong plans to build the data sets that inform the decisions we make on investments. This ongoing process really is an ecosystem. It ensures the sustainability of this profession, and it ensures that we are addressing public safety concerns in our community.
I have the good fortune of sitting on a number of committees. One of these is the Police Executive Research Forum of the Canadian Association Chiefs of Police. You've heard from Deputy Minister Dale McFee, and I'm fortunate enough to be sitting on his expert advisory council in Saskatchewan. In Ontario, we have a Future of Policing Advisory Committee, and as the immediate past president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, I sit on that committee. I also co-chair the National Police Services Advisory Committee and the Police Information and Statistics, POLIS, committee with the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. It's the last one that's really important. We have to start challenging some of the stats and ask ourselves if we are capturing these statistics in the proper way.
We hear a lot of discussion and debate about whether crime is up or down. What we've endeavoured to do at the POLIS committee is to index crime. What we know is that the complexity and severity of crime is increasing in some communities across Canada. It's very important for us to drill down and see if we need to capture more statistics on the crimes that are occurring.
I'd be happy to answer some of your questions afterwards. I hope I've enabled you to have some sort of picture of what we're trying to develop in Waterloo with respect to the economics of policing.
Ms. Candice Bergen (Portage—Lisgar, CPC):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Good morning to the witnesses. Thank you both for being here this morning.
We've been engaged in this study for several months. We've had a lot of very good information provided to us on best practices by different police organizations that are doing fantastic work and by academics. We have heard from provinces like the Yukon, which has laid out a common ground plan, and we've heard some really good ideas.
Some of the committee travelled to the U.K., some to California and parts of Canada. I was one who went to the U.K.
It was an interesting exercise. The federal government in the U.K. provides the majority of the funding and provides an overall direction for the police departments. I think there are 43 different districts in the U.K. Each of them has been policing as a little individual unit, so when the federal government said to them that they had to cut 20% from their budget....
Then there were some political changes, whereby they now have commissioners who are elected, possibly to help carry the heat and also to provide ideas. We saw that the federal Home Office has, as you said, Professor Murphy, a small research department in which they determine value for money in policing. Also, there seems to be quite a large involvement of KPMG with various police districts with respect to efficiencies.
So we have seen a lot of interesting things here at home and abroad. What I'm looking at, and we are all, I think, starting to notice and wonder about, is how the federal government in Canada can bring all of this together and what we can do to provide something that is within our mandate as the federal government, because policing is not a federal issue. Add to this that we have municipalities and cities—Chief Torigian is here representing Waterloo—and we also have first nations. What we're seeing is that first nations policing is over the top, in terms of policing cost per person.
I want to ask you, with all of that—first of all, Professor Murphy—what realistic role you see the federal government in Canada playing. I'd like to ask you to keep in mind the fact that, for example, in the U.K., where it seems that they're pretty effectively cutting 20% off, they are doing it with almost a very professional business model, bringing in the professionals—the KPMGs of this world—and asking, just as any business would, how do we make cuts and still run a solid business?
With that in mind, Professor Murphy—I'm going to ask you first, and then go to the chief from Waterloo—what role do you see the federal government playing in bringing this all together?
I'll leave that with you.
Chief Matthew Torigian:
Thank you. I'm not sure they're significant, but I certainly do have ideas.
I think one of the areas would be continuing to provide leadership in the area of perhaps some guiding principles and a framework for sustaining policing in Canada, not necessarily having to throw dollars at it, but in fact ensuring that we're all speaking the same language, that we have the right common visions and values for what we're looking for with respect to providing policing in all of our communities, regardless of whether it's a first nations community up in the territories or a strong urban centre in one of the more populated areas in Canada.
So it's those guiding principles, that framework, and perhaps a model, and an economic model, on how this all comes together and how it all works. I would resist the urge to try to grab some low-hanging fruit or hear what's happening in another area of the world and look at that as the panacea to finding a solution to whatever may be the cause.
I was fortunate enough to be part of a study group with Mark Potters—who's here today as well—from Public Safety Canada, when 12 or 13 of us went across to the U.K. and took a long, hard look at all of the reforms that were and are going on over there. We had an opportunity to speak with a number of people involved in those reforms.
I would hesitate to look at the U.K. as a solution by cutting 20%, because I can tell you that they're spending an awful lot of money where we cut many, many years ago. They're staffed at levels that we haven't seen in Canada for decades.
There are so many different approaches and models out there. I think from a national level, it's providing that leadership in the form of a beacon, of guiding principles for what we expect policing to deliver in every community for every Canadian, and ensuring that there is a framework of some sort in place. If that framework were an economic model, I think it would help lead us as police leaders.
I hear what Professor Murphy is saying about research. I think it's critically important. I'm not sure it needs to be in a central location. There are many advantages to having this free market of research out there that can be generated from a number of different areas, with perhaps different and maybe even competing interests but allowing police leaders the capacity to look at that research and make some informed decisions.
Chief Matthew Torigian:
I would agree with Professor Murphy. I understand and agree with his vision of where and how that research could get developed and the connection that needs to occur right across Canada to ensure that all police leaders have access to it.
One of the areas that I think is very important when we're talking about the sustainability of policing, and looking at different models or methods by which we deliver our services, what is going to be key to all of this is the new recruit: the training, the education, and the recruitment of the new generation of police officers.
Again, Public Safety Canada has looked at this as a fallout from the summit in January, and it is looking at new ways to train this new cohort, this new generation of police officers who someday will be the leaders of the future. We have to ask ourselves, are we recruiting the right people, and are we doing it the right way? And how are we training and what are the qualifications?
I sit on the Ontario Police College General Investigation Training Advisory Committee, and we are looking at the training period. Is it time for there to be a professional designation for policing? If that's the case, what do we need to get there? Is it a degree? Is it a diploma? Right now the minimum requirement is still grade 12 and you go down to the police college for 12 weeks after you get hired by a police service. I'm not sure that's the right model for what our expectations are for police officers today.
In fact, it's not reality either. We're hiring those with any type of post-secondary education, and very often we're hiring new recruits with master's degrees. The complexity of this job has grown. Thankfully, it didn't work when I was going through that you had to be six foot four and come off a farm and be able to fight your way out of a bar. That's not today's recruit; it's not what is necessary for today's police officer.
Chief Matthew Torigian:
Right now we're exploring the manner in which we collect some of the data. As an example, whenever an incident in a community occurs and there are elements of crime to it, it gets coded. It's a code. It's called a UCR, uniform crime reporting.
If there is more than one criminal act that took place within that one incident, we assign corresponding codes, only to a maximum of four. Yet we have had incidences where 30 crimes have occurred. It's important to look at changing the manner in which we capture this, so that we can get a true appreciation of not only the volume but also the complexity of crime—because volume is only one aspect and not the only one—and track this over the years. Right now we're seeing 20 crimes that occur within one incident. Many years ago that wouldn't have taken place.
This all connects, because it informs us of what we're starting to understand and what we've understood for some time. But research can bear this out as well. Criminals don't specialize. We do, but they don't. There may be more than one criminal act within one particular incident, so we need to be certain that when we're looking at crime stats, we are in fact capturing the data the right way.
Another way we are challenging ourselves and educating ourselves as police leaders around this, going back to an earlier question around what can happen nationally—auditing is something that perhaps we need a little bit more of at CCJS. Right now, we currently see a bunch of different approaches to responding to criminal acts right across Canada.
I'll do this quickly. You could stagger out of a bar in New Brunswick and get into a fight, then drive to Alberta and graffiti a building, and then get to British Columbia and smash your car because you're impaired, and you might not ever generate a criminal occurrence that gets coded. If you do it in reverse, you would then get three. We need to ensure that we are consistent in the way we're capturing data and statistics right across the country. That's part of the work that I'm part of, that we are all part of, with the Police Information and Statistics Committee.
Chief Matthew Torigian:
The actual work a police officer is engaged in over the years hasn't necessarily changed to any great extent. Some of the tools and what we're doing have changed. The way I describe it in my own organization is, the raw material for policing is still the same: it's information. That's the business we're in. We cannot do anything without information. Then we need to process it, mine it, and change it, and turn it into something.
The skills required to take information and do something with it, and some of the tools we use in doing that, have changed over the years, but the actual task is the same. So it's very important, in some respects in certain positions within an organization, to still start in front-line policing and patrol, and generate the necessary skills that will eventually let you take information in a more sophisticated way and do something more with it.
There is the thought that we can start civilianizing specialized tasks a little bit differently in policing. For example, in forensic identification, do you necessarily need to be a front-line police officer and work your way through for 10 or 15 years before you go into forensic identification? Again, I think there are many models out there, some in the United States, some in the U.K., where they're experimenting with that.
On your point around the multi-generational workforce we have, and the different people who come in, and how you lead that change in organization, I think it boils down to leadership. That leadership exists at many different levels.
My personal leadership style is to lead from the middle, to build the capacity at the middle of the organization. I can have all the greatest ideas and directives in the world, but if I don't have a cohort of people who are engaged and who want to do the same thing, it gets clogged in the middle.
Mr. Mark Potter (Director General, Policing Policy Directorate, Law Enforcement and Policing Branch, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness):
We'll be making one 10-minute opening statement.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Please go ahead.
Mr. Mark Potter: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Good morning to everyone. It's a great pleasure to appear before this committee again and to speak with you about the economics of policing. As mentioned, I am joined this morning by my colleague, Rachel Huggins.
We've been following your work very closely and are pleased at the engagement of parliamentarians on this important issue and the wide range of impressive witnesses you have heard from during the course of your deliberations. We look forward to your report and believe that it will make a significant contribution to the work under way on the economics of policing and, most importantly, towards the future of policing in Canada.
Since we last met, there have been a number of developments. I'd like to take this opportunity to update you on those developments, as well as talk about the way forward.
First, however, I'd like to provide some brief background. The Minister of Public Safety has been providing strong leadership on the economics of policing. He has been engaged with all of his federal, provincial, and territorial colleagues through recent meetings of FPT ministers of justice and public safety to collectively advance this issue.
The work under way on the economics of policing is based on the following three commitments agreed to by all FPT ministers: first, to convene a summit on the economics of policing; second, to promote information sharing on policies and practices that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of policing; and third, to develop a shared forward agenda or strategy for policing in Canada.
The development of a shared forward agenda is a unique opportunity for governments to continue to demonstrate collective leadership. Such leadership can help contribute to the evolution of policing in Canada at a time of fiscal constraints and heightened public expectations.
As you know, the summit took place in January 2013. The summit was hosted by the Minister of Public Safety on behalf of all FPT justice and public safety ministers. The summit set out to meet three objectives: first, increase awareness of the economics of policing; second, provide practical information on how to improve efficiency and effectiveness; and third, get ahead of the issue so that we can take well-considered actions and avoid the drastic policing cuts being faced in some jurisdictions.
The summit was attended by over 250 participants from across Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and several other countries. Both formal and informal feedback on the summit was very positive. It achieved the objectives of awareness, practical information, and getting ahead of the issue. It also conveyed strong collective government leadership. A report on the summit is available on the Public Safety Canada website.
In fact, the summit and other developments, including the work of this committee, appear to have accelerated interest both in the issue of the economics of policing and, most fundamentally, the pace of police reform. The development of a shared forward agenda is intended to continue that momentum of change.
The closing session of the summit laid out a framework for advancing the issue of the economics of policing that is oriented around the three pillars of transformation. These are: one, efficiencies within police services; two, new models of community safety; and three, efficiencies within the justice system.
These pillars are underpinned by evaluation and validation of best practices, strengthened research, and of course engagement. The goal of the strategy is increasingly efficient and effective policing.
For the strategy to be successful, it must respect jurisdictional responsibilities for policing and it must be inclusive of the entire policing community and other key stakeholders. The goal, put simply, is to identify those areas where it makes sense to cooperate collectively. Engagement and consultation on the shared forward agenda are intended to flesh out this framework with proposed short- and medium-term actions.
The consultation plan is rolling out over spring and summer 2013. This process is being driven by all governments, notably through deputy minister and assistant deputy minister level policing and public safety committees. A core group composed of Public Safety Canada and the three champion provinces—Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia—will be taking the lead in identifying and developing specific actions for consideration by ministers.
In order to ensure that we get a broad base of input toward the shared forward agenda, we have put together a steering committee comprising this core group of federal and provincial government officials, along with key representatives of the policing community. The heads of the three national policing associations, representing front-line officers, chiefs, and boards, are on this steering committee, as well as an academic expert in policing, Professor Curt Griffiths of Simon Fraser University.
In addition to the development of the shared forward agenda, as directed by ministers, an index of police initiatives is being finalized as a tool to facilitate information sharing and learning from one another. The index is truly a collaborative effort by governments and police services across the country. We believe it is the first of its kind in Canada. The index brings together over 150 innovative initiatives, activities, and best practices in one database and will make them broadly accessible through a user-friendly search engine and on-line interface. I think many Canadians will be surprised at the many innovative policing reforms that are already under way in Canada and from which we can all learn. A number of the witnesses before this committee have referred to such innovative practices, such as the use of integrated teams to assist in responding to calls that involve individuals with mental health challenges, among many others.
In addition to such information sharing, policing transformation and innovation must be founded upon a solid base of evidence and research if it is to be successful. However, as noted earlier this morning, currently in Canada there is a limited policing-related research capacity, no central repository of accessible research information, and no agreement within the policing community on research priorities. A key aspect of the shared forward agenda will be to address such shortcomings.
In order to begin that process, Public Safety Canada has commissioned certain baseline research projects. Projects under way are reviewing policing research in Canada, use of performance measures, international comparisons of policing strategies, and the costs of police training in Canada.
Moreover, there is a major long-term research project under way on the future of Canadian policing. This project is being led by the Council of Canadian Academies and is assessing how policing is organized and delivered in Canada. The project is being undertaken by a number of eminent Canadian and international researchers. This independent study is expected to be released in late 2014 or early 2015.
In addition to strengthening research, another early focus of the work currently under way is on improving police training. A lot of money, as you know, is spent on police training, and the focus tends to be on costly and time-consuming traditional in-class approaches. Such approaches, as you have heard, are not always well-suited to the technology-based learning styles familiar to most new police recruits. Therefore, another short-term action will be to convene a two-day training summit with the Canadian Police Knowledge Network in September 2013. The workshop will bring together a wide range of participants to explore issues and approaches and help set priorities related to police training going forward.
Building on the index of innovative policing initiatives, Public Safety Canada will continue to advance information sharing through its economics of policing website. The website will act as a key portal to broadly disseminate policing information and research and to provide updates on activities related to the economics of policing.
To recap, in terms of next steps, we will soon finalize the index. There will be a training summit in P.E.I. in September, and based on the ongoing consultations, we will present the shared forward agenda to ministers in fall 2013 for their consideration.
The outcome of this committee's deliberations will, I understand, also be released this fall. Such timing would allow all governments to benefit from and draw upon your findings as we collectively shape the way forward.
That concludes the presentation. Your questions and comments would be most welcome.
Thank you very much.
Mr. John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River, NDP):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Potter, it's nice to see you again, and Ms. Huggins, it's nice to see you also.
My first question is for Mr. Potter.
One of the things that was missing in your preamble that is not often talked about, although I try to talk about it as much as I can here, is first nations policing, which is a joint federal-provincial responsibility. It's almost half and half.
As you are probably aware, on this committee we're sort of at loggerheads, the government side and the opposition side. The government side can correct me if I'm wrong, but generally speaking, the government side is concerned about the cost per capita of first nations policing and it being considerably more than the regular per capita cost of policing. We've heard it a number of times today; we've heard Ms. Bergen talk about that.
As you're aware, of course, there are many variables. I don't think there are non-native police services in Canada that have to deal with communities with an 80% addiction rate, for example—those kinds of variables—or flying in, or whatever the case may be.
So we're sort of at loggerheads. That's the government's side.
I see them shaking their heads, so I must be right in what your main concern is.
Voices: Oh, oh!
A voice: They're more than shaking their heads.
Mr. John Rafferty: Oh, they're shaking their heads the wrong way. Well, we'll straighten that out in a minute.
But on this side, and I've said it a number of times, we know there are investments that need to be made to make first nations policing effective, to make it efficient, and to bring it in line with adjacent police services.
I'm aware that now some first nations police chiefs are attacking the main costs they have, which are salaries and benefits, and reducing those in a number of instances. Treaty Three is a good example of where that's happening. Of course, that's a self-defeating thing, because you have to keep up with adjacent municipalities and adjacent police services; otherwise you get all your people poached. They get many of their officers poached already, and that's a serious problem.
I wonder if you could give us your thoughts on both of those positions, and let us know where the government sits on this.
Mr. Mark Potter:
It would be both.
The goal is to look at the various approaches, whether it's technology-based or traditional in-class.
The more fundamental question you're asking is, what should police be learning? What are their true training needs?
I'll refer again to the work of the Police Sector Council and its development of competency profiles. It doesn't sound that exciting, but it's actually quite significant in terms of realizing efficiencies in the way you manage your human resources, which is 80% to 90% of the cost of policing.
If you have an agreed standard or competency profile for a certain level, a front-line officer, let's say, you would have certain requirements associated with that standard and certain training to meet those requirements. You could then better orient your training around that.
Right now in Canada there's a great diversity around the skills and the expectations of particular police officers. All police services are working through the Police Sector Council, and have been for some time, to bring greater alignment and take a more rigorous look at the actual skill sets needed to deliver certain services and be an effective police service. This is clearly evolving over time, so it's not going to be a static standard. But it is all about professionalization, more effective management of your human resources, and modernizing the way you manage human resources as an organization.
Mr. Mark Potter:
I'm afraid it's not a simple answer. The nature of change in this sector, as with many others, is happening at multiple levels. There are things where, whether it's the federal government, the provincial governments, or even the local government...they can be directive. They can encourage change in certain directions, let's say in training. That's one dimension of this.
But I think a bigger dimension is the awareness, the information-sharing side, which tends to be more diffuse, a little bit messier in terms of how it actually leads to change. By police services participating in this summit on training, they will hear things, they will learn things, they will take things back to their own police services, which they will begin to look at, apply, and gather more research on. I think when I talk about the nature of change being incremental...you're going to have change happening in a variety of ways.
I don't think we should necessarily assume the strategy and central direction are what's really going to truly drive this. I think that's a part of it, and there will be areas where we can collectively cooperate, and it makes sense to build that into a strategy, but there are a lot of things going to be happening incrementally, in a diffuse way, simply by being aware and learning from others about what works and what doesn't.
It's the ongoing research, the validation of best practices, and communities defining their own needs, their own priorities, and in that context drawing upon these lessons, drawing upon these experiences, to reform and strengthen their own police services in a way that works for them.
Ms. Candice Bergen:
Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity.
I just want to clarify. The number that jumped out at me concerning first nations policing was in regard to Chief Doug Palson, who is the chief of the Dakota Ojibway Police Service, which is located in my riding of Portage—Lisgar. I know this area extremely well. He told us they were policing five communities, about 8,000 people, with a $5 million budget—about $650 per person, per year.
That compared to a small town, again in my riding, Morden, Manitoba—a small city of about 8,000 people. Their cost was under $200 per person, per year. Those numbers jumped out at me. I recognize there's a huge difference. I know these aboriginal communities as well, so I know none of them are fly-in. Certainly, there are more social problems in some of them.
I'm really comparing apples to apples. I think it's incumbent on us as politicians and leaders to not just say we need to send more money into this situation, but to look at why the costs are so high for first nations policing.
The testimony we heard has been frankly rather dismal. When we've heard success stories, it has not been in first nations policing or with the chiefs of police in those organizations.
I'm wondering, Mr. Potter, have we at Public Safety a breakdown of the cost of policing in different jurisdictions? For example, what would it cost, per person, in a major city like Toronto or a small community like Selkirk, Manitoba, or in a first nations community, or a number of them? Do we have a breakdown as far as costs per capita in different jurisdictions are concerned?