Ottawa's budget and policy decisions for the RCMP play out on the streets and in the accounts books of Canadian communities.
That's why Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender took part in the Summit on the Economics of Policing in Ottawa.
The general trend has been for crime rates to decrease over the long term, but policing costs continue to rise exponentially.
"We need to find new ways of doing business," Fassbender said.
Costs for police services in Canada over the past decade have gone up from $6.4 billion in 1999 to $12.3 billion in 2009, with municipalities paying for 60 per cent of that increase, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Public Safety Canada's stakeholder summit on Jan. 16 and 17 included a range of national and international economic trends, but there was little talk of how budget and policy decisions made in Ottawa affect municipalities, a discussion the FCM believes is needed.
Fassbender and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts were part of an FCM delegation at the two-day summit.
"Initially there was not going to be any municipal representation there," Fassbender said.
This is just the first of many steps needed to address the growing gaps in Canada's policing systems that are putting a strain on police and on municipal budgets, said Fassbender.
Municipal policing spending has soared to three times the rate of federal spending, and twice the rate of provincial spending, while only eight cents of every tax dollar in Canada goes to municipalities.
Fassbender noted that many of the experts came from outside Canada, and added, "Canada has a pretty good system at the moment."
Experts from the United Kingdom said that nation is struggling with cuts in policing numbers, but has about double number of law enforcement compared to Canada.
"We are encouraged by Public Safety Minister Toews's. commitment to work with all orders of government, including municipalities," said FCM president Karen Leibovici. "FCM urges the federal government to take the next step and bring all orders of government to the table to start to plan for the future of policing in Canada."
Fassbender explained that a working group was created from the summit and will continue to delve into policing issues.
While the recently signed RCMP contract has dealt with some municipal concerns, the summit was broader in scope, involving municipal police forces, the RCMP, federal policing issues, and even border security.
@ Copyright 2013