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Study finds police per capita at 17-year low



Study finds police per capita at 17-year low

Statistics Canada may have an explanation for why many Halton residents feel there’s been an increase in crime recently.

In a report published last week, Statistics Canada discovered the 2018 police presence per capita across Canada was the lowest it’s been in nearly two decades.

The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) is concerned with these findings, as members believe the declining number of police officers—2018 was the lowest number of police officers per capita since 2001—combined with the expanding population will make the jobs of the police officers we do have even harder.

Additionally, according to the report, the number of sword police officers across the country is the lowest it’s been since 2009.

Ontario has seen the third most dramatic drop in police strength—a decrease of four percent last year. At the same time, the province’s crime severity index increased by 6.43 percent.

“At some point, we need to ask the question, when will political leaders begin to acknowledge that there is a breaking point? The continuous underfunding of policing is not sustainable,” Bruce Chapman, PAO president, said in a news release.

“Every day across the province, we hear from our members that front-line police service personnel are trying to keep up with an increasing public demand for police service and it is resulting in burnout and other mental health issues,” he added.

The PAO is asking governments at all three levels—municipal, provincial, and federal—to commit to providing the resources and social services required for police presences per capita to return to adequate levels for the officers to be able to properly protect the community and themselves.

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