ARCHIVED - Speaking Notes at the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police 2012 Annual Conference
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Sydney, Nova Scotia
August 22, 2012
Check against delivery
Good morning and thank you for that very warm welcome.
It's a great pleasure to be here with all of you to take part in the 107th annual conference in Cape Breton – a place which is known as the top island destination in the Continental US and Canada. 1
Let me offer my sincerest appreciation to all of you for the invitation to speak today as well as to the organizers for bringing you all together.
I would also like to join with you in thanking Chief McFee for his hard work and many accomplishments during his tenure as President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) while also extending best wishes to him in his new role as Deputy Minister of Corrections and Policing for the Government of Saskatchewan.
As well, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate The RCMP Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team in Surrey, British Columbia, which yesterday received the Bank of Canada Law Enforcement Award of Excellence for Counterfeit Deterrence here at this conference.
Congratulations to everyone for a job well done.
For more than a century, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has been working hard to protect the safety and security of Canadians, and to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing nature of crime.
Cooperation between and among police forces across Canada is a large part of keeping our communities safe, and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police plays an important role in this work.
Your annual conferences have become a focal point for gaining knowledge about trends affecting law enforcement and for getting a first-hand look at new tools and technologies, exchanging views with like-minded professionals and experts—in short, everything that can help chiefs and executives improve their work and get even better results.
One glance at your agenda, and I can see this year is no exception.
I'm delighted to bring you greetings from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada.
I'm as equally proud to reiterate our government's commitment to continue working in close cooperation with the CACP as well as other law enforcement officials right across Canada.
Our government has been committed to strengthening cooperation with law enforcement officials since day one.
We've worked together to crack down on violent crimes.
We have worked in close cooperation with all law enforcement agencies, as well as other partners, to help young people avoid contact with the justice system.
Our Government has been working with CACP, in particular, to address drug abuse.
Many of you attended the national workshop on the Illicit Use of Pharmaceuticals in Vancouver in June 2011.
Our Government also continues to lead the National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet.
In March of this year, the Department hosted the first-ever Workshop on Travelling Child Sex Offenders in Montreal, which brought together law enforcement and border officials from across Canada.
I am also very proud of the progress our government has made in cooperation with law enforcement agencies in cracking down on human trafficking operations in Canada – including the recent release of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
Cooperation has been a key ingredient to our success in building safer streets and communities across Canada as it will continue to be in the months and years ahead.
This morning, I would like to discuss another area which is top of mind for all of you where cooperation will be key – that is finding a solution to the rising costs of policing while continuing to meet the public's demand for an increasingly broad and diverse range of policing services.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is no secret to any of you that policing today is substantially more challenging and time-consuming than ever before.
Organized crime networks have become increasingly pervasive both domestically and internationally while new technologies have made it easier for these syndicates to evade detection and prosecution.
Many police services have taken on a greater role in counter-terrorism efforts since the 9-11 attacks.
Cyber-crimes are also on the rise, as are commercial and other financial crimes.
All this is taking place while changes to policies, legislation and procedures in general are substantially increasing the amount of time and resources each investigation consumes.
Additionally, police are today dealing with a wide-range of social, mental health, addiction and poverty related incidents which in many cases might be better handled by health agencies or community groups.
The end result is that policing costs are rising substantially.
Our government is fully aware of the issue, as are municipal, provincial and territorial governments, and police stakeholders.
The question then is how can we move forward together?
How can we work together to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of policing in Canada?
How can we ensure that policing continues to adapt to today's social and economic realities?
And how do we maintain Canada's policing advantage?
These are questions which I know are top of mind for all of you.
I also know that the CACP along with other police stakeholders have been working very hard to develop new models and solutions with community partners over the last few years.
Addressing the sustainability of policing in Canada will require enhanced coordination, focussed effort, and strengthened leadership.
All of us have a role to play.
The federal government can and will play a key leadership role.
I have often heard it said that there is a strong correlation between times of great economic change and the emergence of new policing and community safety models as well as new roles for law enforcement agencies.
Indeed, it is fairly obvious to even the most casual observer that the role of policing in preserving law and order and community safety has changed markedly from one economic era to another.
For example, police officers performed a substantially different role in the community during the height of the industrial revolution than they do today.
Even over the last fifty years, changes in the economy have resulted in substantial changes to the policing model.
Today, we are entering another period of substantial economic change and the shifts underway present us with both challenges and opportunities.
There are no “magic-bullet” and one-size-fits-all solutions that will work overnight.
There is a window of opportunity though in which to act since all levels of government, law enforcement agencies, policing stakeholders and community organizations are now engaged on the issue of policing economics.
We are all not only engaged but are also providing leadership in terms of finding ways to address rising police costs and public expectations for the police to deal with an increasingly diverse range of criminal and non-criminal issues.
As a result, we have an unprecedented opportunity to move forward together.
As called for by the Federal Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Public Safety, I will be hosting a National Summit on the Economics of Policing in January 2013 as a key step in promoting innovation and reform in Canadian policing.
The Summit will provide additional opportunities for all of us to exchange ideas and share viewpoints of new and unorthodox approaches.
We will have a variety of speakers including police officers and chiefs, government officials, Association representatives and academics from Canada, the US and the UK.
It's important to note, however, that as we advance this issue, we will need to broaden the dialogue with non-police stakeholders in order to develop a comprehensive and system-wide approach.
Community partners such as mental health-care providers and addiction counselling groups can have a significant impact on policing.
In Canada, we have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and develop strategies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our community safety partnership models.
I believe we need to do is look at three areas in particular.
First, we need to examine ways to increase efficiencies within police services and I am very happy to note that many reforms are already underway in this regard.
Second, we need to continue looking at developing and implementing new models for policing and community safety.
Again, there has been progress made in developing some models such as the “Hub” model in Prince Albert which addresses the root causes of crime in the community by bringing together various agencies to identify youth at risk and develop integrated intervention strategies early on.
Third, we need to examine broader reforms to the justice system with a view to improving efficiency, effectiveness and accountability through legislative amendments, policy and procedural changes and the enhanced use of technologies.
While reform in this area might require sustained efforts over the longer term, I believe that significant efficiencies can be realized for police.
As I mentioned earlier, sustaining Canada's policing advantage will require vision, leadership and coordination from all police leaders.
As Minister of Public Safety, I am committed to working closely with you, with other police stakeholders and with my provincial and territorial colleagues to ensure that policing in Canada remains sustainable now and in the future.
Thank you; and I look forward to hearing from you at the National Summit in January 2013.
1 Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2011 readers' survey.
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