It’s the silly season, with respect to policing, in Calgary and across Canada, as local governments finalize budgets for the coming year (years in some case) and politicians and policing leaders trot out familiar, hollow arguments to justify increases. In Calgary, the police budget now comprises roughly 10% of annual civic spending* ($354** million in 2015) yet officials warn that they may have to spend much more on policing in coming years in response to the city’s ballooning population. They make this argument in the absence of any science that establishes a link between police strength and crime rates and community safety.
There’s a crisis in criminal justice in Canada of staggering proportions. It has nothing to do with crooks, courts, lawyers or judges. But it has the potential to metastasise into a debilitating scourge that will paralyse the system. I believe it will be the number one issue of 2009, even though it is virtually invisible and unknown to citizens.