One of the responsibilities of the police that could be eliminated is the role of social work and responding to mental health crises. As we've seen far too often in Canada and across the world, the police are untrained and ill-equipped in social work. The success of these examples in Edmonton and Hamilton point toward the need for Canada to move away from authoritarian police models toward more liberatory, restorative solutions.
The Edmonton city council voted to cut the 2022 Edmonton Police Service (EPS) budget by $10.9 million last Wednesday. EPS will still be allocated $385 million next year. I guess more armoured vehicles are out of the question next year? Defunding the police is the correct path for Canada to take, and Edmonton is leading the way.
Protests have erupted throughout Canada and the USA in response to all-to-familiar accounts of police brutality. One would think that maybe the police might start paying attention? Wrong. They'll just punch you in the face.
The range of issues that could be removed from police duties to non-authoritarian and non-militarized (in some cases) programs is as vast as our imagination. Think of drug decriminalization, sex work, minor bylaw enforcement, restorative rather than punitive justice, implementing means of direct democracy and more community involvement, and anything else that strikes at the root of crime.