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Police services: size and spending

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Canada had almost 62,500 police officers in May 2006—or one officer for every 520 Canadians—as the number of police reached its highest level in over a decade. However, for the past 30 years, police strength has remained relatively stable.

The national rate of 192 officers per 100,000 population in 2006 was 7% below the peak of 206 reached in 1976. Saskatchewan, which has had the highest provincial crime rate since 1997, had the highest police strength in Canada for a sixth consecutive year, at 205 officers per 100,000 population in 2006. Quebec reported the next greatest police strength and had one of the lowest crime rates in the country. The lowest levels of police strength in 2006 were in Newfoundland and Labrador—156 police officers per 100,000—and in Prince Edward Island, 159 per 100,000. Crime rates in the two provinces are relatively low.

From 1996 to 2006, the number of women working as police officers grew three times faster than the number of men. In 2006, 11,200 women worked as police officers, 6% more than in 2005. With these increases, almost one out of five police officers were women. In 2006, the highest proportions of female officers were in British Columbia, 21%, and in Quebec, 20%. Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Manitoba had the lowest shares, about 14% each.

Policing expenditures totalled $9.3 billion, or $288 per person, in 2005. Adjusted for inflation, this was a 4% increase from 2004. For every dollar spent in all justice sectors, 61 cents goes to policing. The federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments share the responsibility and costs for policing.