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Police strength in Canada increases

Police strength in Canada increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2009. As of May 15, 2009, there were just over 67,000 police officers, a rate of 199 officers for every 100,000 population.

This was up slightly from the rate of 196 in 2008, but still below the peak of 206 officers per 100,000 population reached in 1975.

Police strength has gradually increased over the past decade following a period of decline throughout the 1990s. Over the same period, police-reported crime rates have generally been declining and police are solving crimes at a higher rate than at any time over the past decade.

The increase of about 1,800 officers in 2009 was largely the result of gains in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

In 2009, Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported the highest rate of police officers per 100,000 population among the provinces. Prince Edward Island and Alberta had the lowest.

Thunder Bay had 217 police officers for every 100,000 population, the highest rate among all 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), followed by Saint John (207) and Regina (196). These rates were double that of Kelowna, the CMA with the lowest rate (98).

Montréal and Winnipeg each reported 186 officers per 100,000 population, the highest rate among the 10 metropolitan areas with a population 500,000 and over, followed by Toronto at 178.

The number of female officers continued to increase at a faster pace than their male counterparts. Canada had about 12,800 female officers in 2009, up 5% from the previous year. The number of male officers increased 2%.

Women accounted for about 1 in every 5 officers in 2009 compared with about 1 in 8 a decade earlier.

After adjusting for inflation, police service operating costs rose for the 12th consecutive year to more than $11 billion in 2008, up 6% from 2007. This was the equivalent of $344 for every Canadian.

As measured by the new weighted clearance rate, police are solving crimes at a higher rate than at any time over the past decade. Nationally, the 2008 weighted clearance rate stood at 37.6%, its highest point since data were first available in 1998. This was the fourth consecutive annual increase.
© Statistics Canada -

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