March 2012-In January the Department of Justice released a report entitled The Cost of Crime 2008, I'm not sure why it took them more than four years to release this but none the less it is the latest statistics we have in respect to the cost of crime. This report has some rather startling statistics in it; the cost breakdown is as follows:
1. Criminal Code Review Board expenditures $12,000,000.00 (this board reviews the criminal code provisions and makes recommendations to Parliament as to possible changes)
2. Total Prosecution costs $528,249,551.00 (this is the cost of Crown Attorneys throughout Canada)
3. Total criminal court costs $672,392,760.00 (this is the cost of running all courts including court clerks, administration, judges, etc.)
4. Total Correction costs $4,836,224,546.00 (this is the cost of running all of the jails in our country)
5. Total police expenditures . . . a whopping $11,448,937,000.00 (this is what we pay police in Canada to enforce our laws)
These figures are startling for a number of reasons, not only is the cost of law enforcement and prosecution now exceeding sixteen billion dollars but I find most shocking that fourteen and a half billion of that is spent on policing alone. This makes policing one of the largest industries in Canada. I am not surprised that one of the biggest concerns now facing rural communities is the cost of policing, the 2008 statistics now show why this has become such a problem.
Every society needs a police force to ensure that society remains safe and that the rule of law is enforced, however the cost must still be examined in a critical fashion. A first class constable with overtime can easily make in excess of $100,000.00 per year in Ontario. Perhaps it is time we critically examine how many police we need and what is a fair and reasonable cost for same.
Regrettably with the Conservative governments tough on crime agenda these costs are set to further escalate in the near future, especially the cost of corrections which is predicted to double in the next few years. Politically the idea of "more cops" and "throw away the key" sells well but the reality is these one liners come with huge price tags that we as society need to examine before it potentially bankrupts us all.