What is a police funding model?

    A police funding model is a way of determining the annual police budget using a formula.

    Edmonton is the only Canadian city we found with a police funding model in place. Their model allocates funding to the Edmonton Police Service based on inflation (price of goods and services within our economy) and population changes.

    For Edmonton, the police budget = Base Budget (starting budget; usually the budget from previous year) multiplied by 1 + % change in Population + % change of the Police Price Index (customized price index that represents to cost of policing in Edmonton) + an efficiency factor (assumed savings in the budget ). Note that Edmonton is currently reviewing the effectiveness of this model. 

    Why develop a police funding model for Winnipeg?

    The Public Service is going to recommend a multi-year funding model for police for Council’s consideration.

    The goals are to:

    • Ensure planning certainty for the City
    • Sustainable funding for police
    • Predictable funding for police

    The funding formula will ensure an adequate level of funding for police while balancing City Council’s other funding priorities.

    How are police currently funded in Winnipeg?

    The Winnipeg Police Service’s budget is supported from several sources, including municipal policing grants, fine revenue, user fees, and property taxes. As the vast majority of the WPS budget comes from property taxes, it is the City of Winnipeg that bears primary responsibility for financing the police service to a level that enables it to provide adequate service.

    The WPS is currently funded through an annual budget process where Council decides on the budget based on its assessment of the Police Board recommendations and affordability of such services.

    What is the Police Board`s role?

    The Police Board times its work on the Winnipeg Police Service budget to fit with the schedule and process used by the City of Winnipeg to develop the annual City budget. The Board’s role in this process involves the following steps:

    • The Board receives a budget call letter from the City of Winnipeg that signals the start of the budget development process
    • The Board consults with the Police Service regarding anticipated expenditures. 
    • revenue projections and the implications of expenditure reduction options
    • The Board submits its estimates to the City of Winnipeg for analysis
    • The Police Board and the Police Service meet with City staff to discuss the preliminary budget estimates and the City’s analysis of them
    • The Board provides a recommended budget estimate to Council, stating how much the Board has determined it will cost to provide adequate and effective police services for the next year

    Who is involved and who decides on the Police budget?

    • Council is responsible for establishing the total budget for the police service.
    • The Police Board is mandated to make recommendations to Council that provide adequate and effective policing. The Board is responsible for allocating the budget funds noting that there are actions and services the police must do, according to the law
    • The public can provide input to Council and the Police Board on the service level and funding allocation.

    Why change the current police funding system?

    The current system does not have planning certainty for the City of Winnipeg and City Council to plan the budget. It also does not allow for the Winnipeg Police Service to have sustainable or predictable funding levels.

    The increased demands on City services has outpaced the City’s ability to fund tax-supported services adequately, so ensuring all parts of the budget are sustainable is important for the financial health of our city.  

    How can I get involved?

    As residents of Winnipeg, your taxes fund the services you receive, including the Winnipeg Police Service. Ultimately, you vote for Councillors who represent you when making decisions. Your feedback on the police funding model will be one input Councillors will consider when they are making the decision on the proposed police funding model.

    The average household contributes about 27% of their annual property tax bill to police service so your feedback on how the budget is determined is valuable.

    When will changes be implemented?

    In 2022, Council will decide whether to adopt the recommended police funding model and when.

    How will this change policing in this city?

    The Winnipeg Police Board directs how the Winnipeg Police Service budget is spent; at this time, it is not clear how service will be impacted by any of the police funding model options. If a police funding model is adopted by Council, the WPS will continue to serve Winnipeggers with the available funding.

    How much does this project cost?

    Much of the work for this project is being conducted using existing staff resources. $150,000 was allocated to this project through an increase to the Corporate Efficiencies budget, to cover the costs of outside expertise and vendor support to complete the engagement portion of the project.