Winnipeg Police: High Staffing, Low Clearance Rates

Blog, Policing, Frontier Centre

Although the performance of the Winnipeg Police Service improved slightly in 2003, its relative efficiency is still lower than that of most other large metropolitan forces in Canada.

In 2003, Winnipeg had the third highest level of police strength among Canadian cities, at 184 police officers per 100,000 population. That number represents a slight increase from previous years, 176 in 2000 and 182 in 1999. Only Regina and Thunder Bay had more police officers per capita in 2003.

Winnipeg’s crime rate was fourth among 13 major metropolitan areas in 2002, but the Winnipeg Police Service’s clearance rate – the proportion of reported crimes that resulted in convictions for those responsible – ranked eighth, at 31%. This is a marginal improvement from 2000, when the percentage of solved crimes was 30%. The success rate in Winnipeg continued to be much lower when compared with neighbouring major cities with similar demographics. Clearance rates in Thunder Bay, Saskatoon and Regina, for example, were 49%, 43%, and 35% respectively. Despite a much higher crime rate in Winnipeg, with 10,879 incidents per 100,000 population, than in Thunder Bay, with 7,887 incidents – which might indicate a more pressing need for efficiency – the Winnipeg Police Service’s clearance rate is comparatively much lower, at 31% compared to Thunder Bay’s 49%.

At $199, per capita police costs in Winnipeg are slightly higher than the $196 Canadian average, even though the crime clearance rate is much lower than in other Canadian cities.

This data suggests the Winnipeg Police Service is not using its resources and its manpower as effectively as other police forces in Canada.

SOURCE: All the above data is contained in Police Resources in Canada, 2003, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-225-XIE.