Winnipeg, satellites well policed: report

Frontier Centre, Manitoba, Policing, Winnipeg, Worth A Look

OTTAWA — Winnipeg and its bedroom communities continue to have one of highest rates of police officers per 100,000 people in the country, says a report on policing in Canada, released yesterday.

Statistics Canada’s report on Police Resources in Canada 2004 said among census metropolitan areas over 500,000 population, Winnipeg had the most police per 100,000 population, with 179 officers. Winnipeg was followed by Toronto at 173 officers.

Newfoundland and Labrador (148), Prince Edward Island (150) and Alberta (160) reported the lowest police-per-capita rates.

Nationally, the number of police officers on the job in Canada in 2004 (59,906) was up about one per cent from 2003. This translates to one police officer for every 533 Canadians. In the last decade, the population of Canada has grown 10 per cent while the number of officers has grown seven per cent.

More of those officers are female — about 10,000, according to the report.

As of last June, one of every six officers across the country was female, a proportion that has been growing steadily since the mid-1970s. That was up six per cent from a year earlier. At the same time, the number of male officers remained virtually unchanged.

British Columbia had the highest proportion of female officers at 20.5 per cent. Manitoba had slightly below the national average (16.5 per cent), with 14.2 per cent. That means out of 2,266 police officers in the province, 322 are women.

Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Bob Johnson said the local force is aggressively trying to recruit more women and ethnic minorities to better reflect the makeup of the community.

In 2003, there were 158 female officers out of the total Winnipeg Police Service complement of 1,232 officers.

When it comes to smaller cities, those with the highest number of police officers per 100,000 population are Regina (207) followed by Thunder Bay (199) and Saskatoon (181). Abbotsford, B.C., had the fewest at 129.

Among provinces, Saskatchewan had the most police officers per 100,000 population (202) in 2004 for the fourth year in a row. Manitoba was second-highest at 194, with Quebec (191) and Ontario (187) having the next-highest rates.

Spending on policing has increased faster than inflation for the last six years, and in 2003 it cost $8.3 billion, an average of $263 per person, the agency said.