The UCP says that replacing the RCMP with a provincial police service would add 275 frontline officers to the smallest 42 detachments in Alberta.
“I’m often asked why the government is looking at the idea of a provincial police service,” said Justice Minister Tyler Shandro.
“The answer is simple. We have a duty as Alberta’s government to consider whether new and innovative approaches to policing can make our communities safer for everyone in the province – no matter where they live.”
Shandro continued, stating that a provincial police service would result in fewer administrative roles and more frontline police officers in rural communities.
To this point, Shandro said that extended support to Indigenous communities would make it easier for First Nations to set up and maintain their own police services.
“The model that we’re announcing today is tailored to meet the distinct needs of Indigenous communities.”
In fact, Shandro stated that’s a key benefit of the proposed provincial model – the flexibility it would provide the force to meet each community’s specific needs.
He further stated that community-specific policing is “impossible to achieve under a federal model that has been designed for a national police force.”
Shandro also wanted to ensure he honoured RCMP officers, saying, “This is not a criticism or attack on that.”
Nonetheless, he suggested that the RCMP model focuses on national issues such as border security, organized crime, and cyber terrorism, as well as small-town work like traffic stops. But he said it’s a “one-size-fits-all” approach that even the federal government admits is stretched too thin.
“Under an Alberta Police Service, community detachments will be guaranteed a minimum of 10 frontline police officers,” their blueprint reads.
When asked about comparative costs, Shandro said that’s a red-herring to get caught up in the “union rhetoric.”
But he did point out that “both Quebec and Ontario have their own provincial police service and look, their provinces have not collapsed.”
As for how likely this proposed plan will come to fruition, Shandro said that it’s up to the next government to make that decision.