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More budget cuts will have significant impacts to Calgary police services: Commission

Calgary Police Service headquarters is shown in Calgary, Alta., Monday, May 6, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh.
Calgary Police Service headquarters is shown in Calgary, Alta., Monday, May 6, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh. Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press

Any more cuts to the police budget could affect service to Calgarians.

That’s the message members of the Calgary Police Commission delivered  to city hall’s audit committee Friday, saying the previous cut to its budget in July was manageable but further cuts will impact people.

The $400 million police budget accounts for about 20 per cent of the city’s operating budget.

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The Commission’s report to the audit committee stated any additional cuts to the CPS budget will result in significant and lasting changes to the services currently provided to citizens.

Besides dealing with and preparing for future cuts, the police service has also not received the full provincial policing grant from the UCP government.

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“The province has provided only half of the anticipated grant, which means that $16.65 million is at risk,” Roy Goodall, chair of the commission’s finance committee said Monday.

Goodall said those grants fund more than 300 officers.

“In addition, CPS has not received the anticipated city funding to offset funding from cannabis legalization.”

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Goodall explained Calgary’s police have spent $6 million in areas like training and drug recognition experts.

A service optimization review is being conducted by an independent consultant looking for efficiencies with a report expected in the spring of 2020.

“We have a finite amount of resources and we have a finite amount of sworn officers that need to deliver that public safety to this community,” Deputy Chief Paul Cook said Friday.

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Cook said the CPS is optimistic that the independent optimization review will be able to answer questions citizens may have about the city’s police force.

“Are we delivering the services that they expect and are we at the right places at the right time providing that service?”

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Cook said police are continually looking at ways of refining how service is delivered.

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The audit committee was also told police are also dealing with a significant increase in the crime rate.

Incidents of domestic violence have risen 40 per cent in the last five years, seizures of methamphetamines have gone up four-fold and Calgary leads the country in incidents of car thefts per-capita.