There is a growing trend in the past few weeks regarding police service boards across the country slashing their budgets. This is potentially a very dangerous situation because any “real” cutting back on police budgets can only be accomplished with laying off and hiring freezes of new officers for a long period of time.

Why the reason for all this alarm?  All police budgets in Canada are ratified by those same police service boards who are panicking now.  They will negotiate with the local police association and once they have an agreement both sides will ratify the agreement. Secondly, there exists the arbitration process which the provincial governments brought into law a long time ago, where a third party will decide the outcome of a contract between the police association and police service board.

It is obvious the concern is that the police associations across Canada are doing a much better job than the police boards in securing a contract whether through ratification or arbitration. But are the police budgets too high? Canada is known around the world for being safe with low crime that obviously can be attributed to great police work and the protecting of our communities. Why the panic?   Are the citizens of Canada really complaining about the cost of policing or are the police boards and politicians panicking over the special interest groups and media?

Why not put the vote on any police budget to the citizens of the community in question and remove it from the politicians on their ratification vote? I guarantee that if the community was voting, the police budgets would be approved without a doubt. Most people want to keep their community safe, and the average person knows it is expensive to police a community large or small.

The real alarm and panic should be saved for when there are not enough cops out on the street patrolling the city at nights, but that is another story for another day I will address.

Craig Bromell