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Police funding won't mean new officers

Cara Loverock
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, April 03, 2008

INUVIK - The new funding from the federal government from a Police Officer Recruitment Fund may not actually aid in the recruitment of even one additional police officer in the Northwest Territories.

The federal government has pledged $800,000 to the NWT for police recruiting over the next five years.

"It's not quite as great a deal as it seems," said Bronwyn Watters, assistant deputy minister for the NWT's solicitor general.

The funds break down to $160,000 a year and is less than the cost of a single police officer, according to Watters. The fund is part of the federal government's effort to recruit 2,500 police officers nationally and assist provinces and territories in hiring additional personnel.

"We're actually kind of disappointed at the allocation because it's based on a per capita, with just a small top up to the territories," said Watters.

All three territories received the same amount of $800,000. Watters said how the money will be used has not yet been decided and will be included in the main estimates.

Watters said the funds have to go towards direct policing services, but that may not result in the addition of any more police officers.

"It's up to each jurisdiction to determine how they can best use the money to enhance direct police services," she said.

"Something that will make life easier for (the police) and they can do their job better. It really is wide open."

It is also up to the territorial government to decide how to allocate the money, meaning it could be used all at once or divided up and spent over a number of years.

The final decision on how the money will be spent will made by the legislative assembly sometime in June.