According to a recent Statistics Canada report, the number of police officers per 100,000 people fell for a sixth consecutive year in 2017, reaching its lowest rate since 2004. The rate of police officer strength stood at 188 officers per 100,000 population in 2017, down one per cent from the previous year and lower than the peak strength of 206 officers in 1975.
In York Region, the rate of police officers per 100,000 population stood at 137 in 2017, a decrease of 2.4 per cent from the year before.
Overall, as of May 2017, there were 69,027 police officers and 29,049 civilians working for police services in Canada. That amounts to 168 more officers and 613 more civilians compared with 2016.
But, compared with 2016, rates of police strength declined in seven provinces and territories in 2017. Declines were reported in Yukon (minus eight per cent), the Northwest Territories (minus eight per cent), New Brunswick (minus four per cent), Prince Edward Island (minus four per cent), Ontario (minus two per cent), Quebec (minus one per cent) and Manitoba (minus one per cent). Conversely, Alberta and British Columbia each reported a one per cent growth in the rate of police strength, while rates were stable for the remainder of the provinces and territories.
Of the 50 police services which served a population greater than 100,000 in 2017, eight saw an increase in their rate of police strength, 31 saw a decrease, and 11 reported no notable change.
The number and proportion of women in policing continues to grow. In 2017, there were 14,752 female officers in Canada, accounting for just over one in five (21 per cent) officers, a proportion unchanged from the previous year. In contrast, in 1986, the year data collection began, women accounted for four per cent of officers. Since that time, the proportion of female officers has increased steadily. Compared with 2016, police services reported 197 more female officers in 2017 and 29 fewer male officers.
In York Region, the number of female officers makes up 19 per cent of the force.