Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Proposed Ticketing Scheme for Minor Offences Could Save Police Considerable Cash

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Proposed Ticketing Scheme for Minor Offences Could Save Police Considerable Cash

Article excerpt

Ticketing scheme could save police money

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OTTAWA - Police would have the option of ticketing people for a range of minor offences -- instead of laying criminal charges -- under a plan that could yield significant savings for the cash-strapped justice system.

The idea has emerged from discussions fostered by the federal government on curbing the rising costs of policing, said Timothy Smith, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

Under the proposal, officers would have the option of ticketing people for offences such as causing a disturbance, public nudity, falsifying an employment record, soliciting prostitution, vagrancy or trespassing.

It builds on a resolution the Chiefs of Police passed last August that would give officers the discretion to issue a ticket under the Contraventions Act for possession of a small amount of cannabis.

"This is all part of the economics of policing initiative and the discussion that's taking place to find ways in which we can more efficiently handle these types of issues," Smith said in an interview.

"In the case of some of these other offences, should they be criminally charged or would a ticket be a better enforcement option for all those involved within the judicial system and policing? That's the kind of thinking that's going on."

Last January the federal Public Safety minister, on behalf of provincial and territorial counterparts, hosted a summit on the economics of policing that included officers and chiefs from across the country, government officials and academics.

Officials say the cost of policing is steadily rising -- hitting more than $12 billion in 2010 -- even though the crime rate is falling. Among the reasons: increases in police officer salaries, higher costs for equipment and fuel, and new challenges such as dealing with people who have mental health issues. …

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