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Police personnel and expenditures

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Canada had just over 65,000 police officers as of May 15, 2008. Following a period of general decline throughout the 1990s, police strength has generally increased over the past decade. At 196 officers per 100,000 population, the 2008 rate was 1% higher than in 2007 and 8% higher than a decade earlier.

Over the past 10 years, all provinces recorded increases in their police strength, with the largest being in Newfoundland and Labrador (+21%) and Nova Scotia (+17%).

Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported the highest rate of police officer strength in 2008 while Alberta and Prince Edward Island had the lowest.

Since 1998, all 27 census metropolitan areas, except for Victoria, recorded increases in police strength. The largest gains were reported in Sherbrooke (+26%) and St. Catharines–Niagara (+23%).

In 2008, Thunder Bay had the most police per 100,000 population, followed by Saint John and Regina.

Among the nine largest metropolitan areas, rates of police strength were highest in Montréal and Winnipeg.

The number of female officers increased at a faster pace than their male counterparts, continuing a trend that began in the mid-1970s. Canada had just over 12,200 female officers in 2008, up 3% from the previous year. The number of male officers increased 2%.

Women accounted for almost 1 in every 5 officers in 2008, compared with about 1 in 8 a decade earlier.

Factors such as police strength, the volume and type of crimes and the complexity of investigations can affect police clearance rates, defined as the proportion of crimes solved by police. In 2007, police solved 37% of crimes reported to them, compared with 35% a decade ago.

After adjusting for inflation, police expenditures rose for the 11th consecutive year, reaching $10.5 billon in 2007, or $320 for every Canadian.

Available on CANSIM: tables 254-0002 and 254-0003.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3301.

The report Police Resources in Canada, 2008 (85-225-XWE, free) is now available from the Publications module of our website.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-387-2231; 613-951-9023), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

Table 1
Police officers by province/territory

Table 2
Police officers in census metropolitan areas