News

Feds seek to cut Canada's policing costs

By Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau

RCMP cruiser. (QMI AGENCY FILE)

RCMP cruiser. (QMI AGENCY FILE)

OTTAWA -- The feds are looking for ways to cut the cost of criminal justice in Canada.

Relying on information from the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Public Safety Canada says the cost to taxpayers for policing, prosecution and prisons has risen 66% from 2002 to more than $20 billion last year.

"If the demand for criminal justice resources continues to grow, the government will be faced with a crisis of sustainability," officials said in government tender documents.

According to those documents, there isn't enough information available in Canada on the economics of various crime measures.

So, Public Safety Canada has put the call out for researchers who'll help the department review and analyze international studies on the economic costs of crimes and the response to them.

Officials say that information will feed into better crime prevention programs.

"Investments in effective crime prevention have the potential to not only reduce crime and victimization, but also the social and economic costs that result from criminal activities and from the costs related to criminal justice system responses," officials said.

Officials also say they hope to include the new research in the information that Public Safety's National Crime Prevention Centre distributes.

Bidders on the contract have until Nov. 28 to tell the government they're up to the job.

The new contract offer dovetails with concerns former public safety minister Vic Toews expressed about policing costs.

In a January speech, Toews encouraged cops to "get ahead of the curve and have greater flexibility in designing and implementing both incremental and meaningful structural reforms."


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