PwC report says provincial police force “realistic, cost-effective and worth serious further consideration”

A report from a government-hired firm, revealed Friday says creating a “made-in-Alberta provincial police service is realistic, cost-effective and worth serious further consideration.”

Following a Fair Deal Panel recommendation, in October of 2020, the Government of Alberta hired Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC Canada) to produce an independent report studying the feasibility of replacing Alberta RCMP with a provincial police service.

The Alberta Provincial Police Service Transition Study Final Report looks at the operational needs, processes and potential transition costs. The report’s provincial model is one the UCP say would put more front-line personnel in Alberta communities for the same or lower dollars than current RCMP policing costs.

Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu said his rural crime tour this past summer made it clear to him that people are deeply concerned about crime in their communities.

“PwC Canada has developed a policing model that could address long-standing concerns about response times in rural areas and put more boots on the ground,” Madu said. “We’re eager to share these innovative and thought-provoking ideas with stakeholders and hear their thoughts over the coming months.”

Engagement with municipalities, First Nations and Métis communities, law enforcement organizations and public safety partners, including victims services organizations and rural crime watch groups will start this November.

Transition costs are expected to be $366 million and the transition would take five years.

Alberta’s NDP opposition said Friday the report “glosses over hundreds of millions of dollars in new costs” for Alberta taxpayers.

“Almost $200 million in federal funding will be given up if we move to a provincial force,” said NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir. “On top of this, the UCP’s own report says it will cost $366 million in up-front transition costs alone. So while the minister twists himself into knots to claim there will not be any additional costs for Albertans, this is simply not true.”

Sabir went on to say the UCP previously downloaded $286 million in additional costs on rural taxpayers through the new rural policing model.

“So let’s be clear: this is a sneaky plan to raise Albertans’ taxes,” Sabir said.

The Alberta Urban Municipality Association released a statement Friday afternoon saying that while it welcomed the PwC report, the association would need time to “review and analyze the contents” before offering specific comments.

“The AUMA maintains that a fair and democratic referendum on the establishment of a provincial police service should occur if the Government of Alberta decides it wants to go this route,” the statement reads. “Premier Jason Kenney said as much in November 2019, and we expect him to honour his commitment.”

AUMA expressed concern Alberta would forfeit roughly $160 million a year in federal funding for police services if it were to form a provincial police service.

Below are links to the PwC report documents.

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