ORILLIA, ON, Dec. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is re-affirming its commitment to providing accountable, effective and efficient policing in its response to the 2012 Provincial Auditor's report.
As an organization, the OPP is committed to continuous improvement and regularly assesses its operations in order to better manage limited resources while ensuring quality of service. While welcoming the opportunity to learn from the review process, OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis cautions against drawing quick conclusions from some of the report's findings.
"While the 2012 Provincial Audit identifies that OPP expenditures have risen over the past five years, this increase is consistent with many other larger police forces across Canada," said Lewis. "These increases arise, in part, because of inflationary cost increases but also because we are policing more municipalities, dealing with increasingly complex crimes, meeting higher standards and expectations and being asked to do more."
The OPP has a unique mandate to provide both municipal and provincial police services, often to rural and isolated parts of the province where operational costs are high, and distances long. Meeting this mandate requires a high level of operational readiness and significant resources.
"Yes, there are costs for overtime but events like the tornado in Goderich, major investigations or the numerous large forest fires in Northern Ontario leave us little choice but to ask officers to work long hours," said Lewis. "The people of Ontario expect and deserve a thorough and professional police response to these events.
"Furthermore, we are all pleased that some crime rates are dropping, but that is not an automatic indication that we can reduce police service," continued Lewis. "We need to continue our crime prevention and abatement strategies to keep crime rates low. There is a financial cost associated with effective prevention program delivery, but it remains a less expensive approach than responding to, investigating and prosecuting offenders. More importantly, it reduces victimization."
Lewis said one of the OPP's fundamental strategies to achieve efficiency in an increasingly complex and challenging policing environment is effective resource management.
"The Auditor's recommendations will receive our careful and thorough attention. We are already committed to a variety of cost management strategies and continuous improvement. This is another lens with which we can focus our efforts," said Lewis.
The OPP, like the rest of the Ontario Public Service, is in an on-going period of fiscal restraint. The OPP will study the Auditor's recommendations and continue to work towards increased effectiveness and accountability.
Attention News Editors: Interviews with Chief Superintendent Gary Couture can be arranged via the media contact below.
Chief Superintendent Couture has served at locations throughout the province and is a senior OPP leader with extensive cross command experience. He has served as Acting Commander for Field Operations and as the Acting Commander of the Business and Financial Services Bureau.
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SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Sgt. Pierre Chamberland
Media Relations Coordinator
OPP Corporate Communications
Phone: (705) 329-6860