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The Issue

Saskatchewan is experiencing record population growth, while investments in the Saskatchewan RCMP by the Province are not adequate to keep pace with community safety needs.

However, rather than responding to calls from Mayors and communities across the province to fund more Saskatchewan RCMP positions, the Province has planned to divert much-needed resources – over $20 million annually – to create a new provincial law enforcement entity: the Saskatchewan Marshals Service (SMS).

Diverting these funds to establish the SMS means waiting until 2026 to see any change in public safety in communities most impacted by crime. Shifting needed resources away from current police services – instead of bolstering them – is not the answer. More than twice as many (38%) of Saskatchewan residents would prefer the Province invest $20 million in the RCMP than in a new Marshals Service (18%).

Saskatchewanians Support the RCMP

Recent polling shows that over 80% of Saskatchewan residents are satisfied with the RCMP’s policing. Instead of more bureaucracy, Saskatchewanians want to see more RCMP Members in their communities.

The Saskatchewan RCMP is locally accountable

While Saskatchewan benefits from a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government for the RCMP (federal government paying 30% of RCMP costs), the Saskatchewan RCMP is accountable to Saskatchewanians and not the Federal Government. Under the Saskatchewan Provincial Policing Service Agreement, the Provincial Minister sets the objectives, priorities, and goals for the Saskatchewan RCMP. This includes setting the level of policing service and the administration of justice and law enforcement in the province.

Oversight and the Saskatchewan Marshals Service

Under the SK Police Act, law enforcement agencies are to report to an independent police board. However, recent changes have been made by the Province to allow for the SMS to instead report to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety. This means politicians will act in place of a police board. 

This means that politicians will have access to police information that should not otherwise be accessible to governments and politicians, impeding the independence of such a law enforcement agency. While the government has said this will be on an interim basis, there is no future timeline set to have an independent police board established. 

Saskatchewan Benefits from Highly Trained and Specialized RCMP Members

We know that everyday routine policing calls can escalate quickly, and we need more police officers who are equipped to deal with that. RCMP Members are among the most highly trained police officers in the world. Additionally, with the provincial and local RCMP, Saskatchewanians have access to over 150 RCMP specialized services. Diverting needed resources away from the RCMP – instead of bolstering them – is not the answer.

Impacts to Your Wallet

As we have seen in other communities across the country, the cost of establishing a new law enforcement service is often much higher than originally estimated, with extra costs being covered by taxpayers. The Saskatchewan Government did not conduct a full feasibility study to review whether a new Marshals service would be the best option to improve public safety needs compared to investing in the existing SK RCMP and municipal police – Saskatchewan residents deserve this information!

Currently, Saskatchewan benefits from the Federal Government paying 30% of provincial RCMP policing costs, or roughly $75 million of the total policing costs in the province – every year. With the Marshals, Saskatchewan residents are on the hook for 100% of the costs.

The Saskatchewan Marshal Service (SMS) is estimated to cost over $20 million annually once operational in 2026. The Province has not disclosed the additional costs to start up this service. The Province has already committed to $7 million in start-up costs in 2023 alone.

Investing in the RCMP: A Smarter Choice

In 2026, the SMS plans to have 70 Marshals operational for a cost of $20M annually. For that same cost, the Province could fund 100 additional RCMP officers. 

Recent polling shows that triple the number of Saskatchewan residents would prefer to invest $20 million annually in the Saskatchewan RCMP instead of a new Marshals service, as they would see immediate public safety needs addressed today instead of years from now.

Saskatchewanians deserve to be consulted about changes to public safety in their province

A recent poll revealed that 2/3 of Saskatchewanians have not heard of the Province’s plan to develop a Saskatchewan Marshal Service (SMS). The same poll revealed that three times as many individuals would prefer to see $20 million invested in RCMP services, rather than into the creation of the SMS. However, the Province is moving forward with its plan.

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