What’s In a Relationship

The Winnipeg Police Service has replaced its longstanding motto,  Community Commitment with “Building Relationships“.

The following are some comments that I’ve heard about the Winnipeg Police “Building Relationships” motto that add some humour to an otherwise serious subject.

Scenario 1

Upon being arrested and placed in the back of a patrol unit a suspect  was heard to say “I don’t like where this relationship is going“.

Scenario 2

In June of last  year a suspect attempted to end his relationship with police when he escaped from a holding room in the District 6 Police Station.  The relationship was rekindled when police re-arrested the suspect.

Scenario 3

Another suspect  thought his relationship with police was going sour.  Police managed to  spice  up the relationship with a long burst of pepper spray.

Scenario 4

A recently tasered inner city resident described his relationship with the Police Service as  “electrifying“.

Scenario 5

The Professional Standards Unit, formerly known as the Internal Investigation Unit,  could also be called the  Failed Relationships Unit.

Scenario 6

One recently convicted gang member doing time at Stony Mountain Penitentiary described his relationship with police as “rocky“.

Scenario 7

Now that the Winnipeg Police Service has entered the relationship building business, eHarmony, the online dating service, will no doubt respond to this encroachment  by changing its motto to   “To Serve and Protect“.

Scenario 8

One repeat criminal offender described his relationship with police as “ long-term and on going“.

If you think policing business should be strictly ‘business’, lighten up.  There is a lot of humour in policing.  As one former Chief often said ‘you need to get a least one good laugh a day”.

Will the Winnipeg Police Association’s Endorsement of The Mayor Become a Cost to Taxpayers?

Perhaps a better question would be, how much will it cost us and are we about to be “SAMMED” AGAIN?

During the 2010 civic election the Winnipeg Police Association endorsed Mayor Sam Katz.  The announcement that the WPA was endorsing the Mayor coincidentally came on the same day that the Mayor announced he was adding 58 additional police and 19 staff positions  to the Police Service complement.  The  timing was  no doubt a coincidence (not) but it’s  one of those coincidences that voters have come to expect when an incumbent is running for reelection.  

Whenever unions support politicians there is some expectation that there will be a return on their investment.   Sometimes it is  favourable legislation, sometimes it is the creation of more positions which result in a direct benefit, in this case an increase in union dues (77 positions translates into approximately $40,000.00 in union dues – not exactly chump change).   In Canada one does not necessarily think about politicians meeting in hotel rooms and receiving brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash (e.g.  Karlheinz Schreiber and  Brian Mulroney) as a common occurrence.  Usually, at least in the cases that come to public attention it is less brazen.  The fact remains that when politicians make deals in return for support in the form of an endorsement there is  usually some form of quid pro quo.  Something is given, something is received.  Politics is not a zero sum game and politicians and their supporters are not totally altruistic. The unfortunate thing is that the  residual losses required to offset the gains realized by the players (in this case the mayor and the union) are absorbed by the public.

The Winnipeg Police Association already received what many observers consider to be, at the very least, a “down payment” in return for their support – that being the addition of 77 dues paying union positions.

Further, the association has been advocating for years, without success,  to amend the Winnipeg Police Regulations to allow for discipline records to be expunged.  A  few months  ago the association received what could be viewed as a ‘second payment’.    This time it was in the form of favourable legislation resulting in a change to the police regulations as it related to the expunging of discipline records.

Will the Winnipeg Police Association be receiving anything else?

They just might.  In comments to the media the mayor said that police in Winnipeg are under paid and  is quoted as saying, “I can guarantee none of us would do that job for what they get paid”.   Well, perhaps the mayor wouldn’t (he has never struck me as police officer material), but I think many others would, as illustrated by the number of applicants for police positions.   That comment coming from the lips of the mayor during a year when the City will be negotiating a contract with the Winnipeg Police Association could be worth a few bucks to the association.

With negotiations now at a deadlock, arbitration is just around the corner.  I’m willing to wager (only with the approval of the Manitoba Lotteries Commission of course) that  the Association’s lawyers will be using the mayor’s quote as the centerpiece in their attempt to  justify a larger pay increase.

If that scenario were to play out and the arbitrator were to be persuaded to up the award  by, say, a quarter to a half per cent, what would that cost taxpayers?  Answer:  in the range of $375,000.00 to $750,000.00, and that would just be in the first year.  Wage awards, because they are cumulative, are gifts that keep on giving.

That begs the question:  was the mayor’s comment a naive shot from the hip,  a mere slip of the lip or did we just get SAMMED again?

Flaws in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report- Part V

Winnipeg Police to issue an amended 2010 Annual Report

It wasn’t my intention at the outset that there would be this many parts to my original post on the flaws in the Winnipeg Police 2010 Annual Report ….. but as they say in policing, you go where the evidence takes you.

In response to the number of errors discovered in the 2010 Annual Report, the Winnipeg Police Service has announced that it will be reissuing the report (see press release below).  The question remains, however, how is it that the high-priced help at the Winnipeg Police Service did not spot these errors?  One can only conclude that due diligence, although promised, is not always delivered.

Until the amended report is issued the question of whether crime in Winnipeg went up or down in 2010, and by how much, remains unanswered.

  Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Winnipeg Police Service 2010 Annual Report was made available to the public on December 28th, 2011. Following its release a statistical error come to light that will result in the Service releasing an amended version of our 2010 Annual Report.
The amendments will require a change to the Criminal Code Offences by Month Chart and the Total Criminal Code Offences Chart. Once this work is completed, we will update the charts in question, add footnotes in our Annual Report to clearly explain the changes and advise the public when the updated Report is available.
This year, effort was undertaken to ensure the manner in which we report statistics is consistent with Statistics Canada reporting through its Police Reported Crime Statistics in Canada 2010 Report.
In 2009, Statistics Canada had amended some of its reported crime categories. This impacts on how we report crime statistics as well.
As a result, the Service introduced a new “Not District Specific” category for reported crimes.
Crimes that appear under this column may include incidents where the crimes occurred over multiple districts. This category also includes incidents where a division, location or area was not identified due to data entry error or would be classified as “City at Large” incidents.  An example of such a City at Large incident would be a stolen license plate.
This change ensures greater consistency between our reported numbers and the numbers reported by Statistics Canada.   
The creation of this category resulted in an unusually high number of Theft – Over $5,000 and Theft – $5,000 and Under being reported as “Not District Specific”.
We recently learned this may have resulted from an unidentified programming anomaly that we believe resulted from the creation of a new reporting code.
Representatives from both the Winnipeg Police Service and Statistics Canada are working to resolve this matter. We will update the public as soon as this matter is resolved.
Percentage Change Errors
The Total and Grand Total data that initially appeared in the 2010 Annual Report reflected a month-to-month percentage change. The pending revision will show the correct year-over-year percentage change calculations.
We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

For further information contact either: 
Constable Natalie Aitken, Public Information Officer
Constable Jason Michalyshen, Public Information Officer

Office: (204)986-3061
Fax: (204) 986-3267
Email: WPS-PIO@Winnipeg.ca 

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The Effect of Unauthorized Speed Limit Signs

In response to a sign posted by Wise Up Winnipeg,  Mayor Sam Katz said:

“I think everybody should know better than just go and start doing things on their own erecting signs that are not only against the Highway Traffic Act and violate it but more importantly could have ramifications when it comes to safety”.  

On the other hand…..




12 01 14   Wording changed from ‘photo radar’ to ‘radar’


Flaws in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report – Part IV

There are a lot of parts to this fiasco and I don’t think it’s quite finished yet.

This post presents a table that provides a 2009/2010 side by side comparison of many of the statistic categories in the Winnipeg Police Annual Report.  The table was created for informational purposes but I will comment on several of the categories.

1.  Police to Population Ratio

In the 2009 Annual Report the “authorized” police complement was used (674,800/1348) to calculate the ratio at 1:501.  The 2010 Annual  Report used the “actual” police complement (684,061/1400) with a resulting ratio of 1:488.  Had the actual complement been used in 2009 the ratio would have been 1:478 and had the authorized complement been used in 2010, the ratio would have been 1:503.

When calculating ratios that are carried forward from year to year for comparison purposes it is important to apply the same rules from year to year.  If the approach is changed a note should be attached to identify the change, and the purpose of the change.

2. Police to Staff Ratio

The Winnipeg Police Service police to staff ratio has lagged behind that of other major Canadian Police Departments for years and is an issue that needs to be addressed.  The 9% increase in 2010 seems to address the issue to a degree.  What the report does not indicate is what portion of that change reflects the addition of the new staff category of Cadets.  The addition of this new employee category should have been noted in the report.

3.  Total Crimes

No matter how you cut it, the 2010 Annual Report lists 61,680 reported crimes  compared to 56,427 in 2009.  That works out to a 9% increase according to the ‘rithmatic.  Note thus far that only the English version of the report has been released – the French version has yet to be released.

4. Persons Charged and Clearance Rate

The number of persons charged dropped from 16,525 in 2009 to 13,604 in 2010 representing a decrease of 18%.  The clearance rate, though, is shown as increasing by 1% from 24 to 25 from 2009 to 2010.  That may bear some closer examination since, generally, there is a correlation between the number of persons charged and the clearance rate .




Variance 2009-2010   (%)





Events for Service



No change*

Police to Population Ratio




Operating Budget
Tax Supported Expenses




Per Capita Cost




Sworn Officers (Authorized)



No change*

Sworn Officers (Actual)



No change*

Non-sworn Staff (Authorized)



No change*

Non-Sworn Staff (Actual)




Male Officers



No change*

Female Officers



No change*

Against Persons




Against Property




Other Crimes




Total Crimes




Persons Charged




Clearance Rate




Police Issued




Photo Radar




Offence Notices Total








Criminal Files Initiated




Criminal Files Sustained



No change

Regulatory Files Initiated



No change*

Regulatory Files Sustained




Data Source – Winnipeg Police Service 2009 and 2010 Annual Reports

*  no change means the variance was less than 1%

** when the numbers are small a large percentage change has limited meaning in a statistical sense

*** correction from original version of this post

For the most part this post concludes my examination of the statistical portion of the 2010 Annual Report with a caveat.  A new category “Multiple Districts” was added to the  Highway Traffic Act Offences (by District) table.   As with the other new categories introduced in the 2010 Annual Report, there is no note to describe the change.

Flaws in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report – Part III

This post will examine the “Events for Service” statistics listed in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report.

As the table below indicates, in 2009 there were 162,394 events.  In 2010 there were 162,678.  The difference is so marginal that in percentage terms it is correctly listed as zero.

The variances in the number of events for service in the 5 Districts are listed as between -3 and -10 percent.  This raises the question:  If the actual city-wide calls for service were essentially static then how is it possible that each District would show a reduction?

The culprit again is the new unexplained category ‘Not District Specific” introduced in 2010.  This category which consists of 7748 events when added to the 2010 District numbers produces a variance of zero as opposed to the listed 3 to 10 per cent decrease.  Again, another error.



Variance shown in 2010 Annual Report

District 1




District 2




District 3




East District




District 6




Non District Specific

did not exist in 2009


Total City Wide




Data Source:  2009 and 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Reports

Based on the response I have received to these recent postings, there is significant interest in what will hopefully be a response in the near future from the Winnipeg Police Service as to why the “Not District Specific” category was introduced, or what it represents.

Flaws in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report

Do the math:  According to the numbers in the Winnipeg Police Annual Report, crime in Winnipeg may be up by as much as 9% and not down 7% as stated. 

As I made my way through the just released 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report I admired the politically correct pictures, and the really cute picture of the puppies.

It was when I got to the meat of the matter, the statistics that is, that I realized that there was a problem with the report – a big problem.

Winnipeg Police Annual Reports have traditionally reported on the number of Criminal Code Offences both geographically (by district of occurrence) and temporally ( month of occurrence).  This year is no different, however, in each case a new column has been added.

The Criminal Code Offences By District Table has a new column titled “not district specific” .  A total of 9548 offences are reported in this column including 1 homicide, 138 robberies and  8109  “theft $5000 or under (Non-Motor Vehicle)”.  It seems inconceivable that the Police Service took reports of over 8000 thefts and was not able to determine in which of the five police districts the theft occurred.  But, as there is no note attached to this newly introduced column, one must assume that is the case.  Whatever happened to occurrences being assigned a location by address and atom?

The Criminal Code Offences By Month Table also saw the addition of a new column, again without any note or explanation attached.  The column is titled “Undertermined”.  I’m assuming it should read as ‘undetermined’.  This column lists 8521 offences.  They include 132 robberies and 7707 Theft $5000 or Under (Non-Motor Vehicle) offences.  Again, one would think that the police should be able to determine with some degree of accuracy when people were robbed and where and when they had their property stolen.  Without any note or explanation attached to this addition to the annual report one must assume they can not.

Lastly, the big one.  The 2010 Annual Report lists the total number of Criminal Code Offences reported to police in 2010 as 61,680.  The report says that this represents a reduction of 7% from the previous year.  Here is the problem:  the 2009 Annual Report lists the total number of crimes reported as 56,427.  Based on those numbers that would mean a 9% increase compared to 2009.  That is a 16% difference and that is significant.

Pending an explanation one must conclude, based on the numbers in the Annual Report, that crime in Winnipeg may be up by as much as 9% in 2010 compared to 2009.

I guess 12 months was just not enough time to do all the ‘figurin and cipherin’ required to get the numbers right.  I have attached a link to a video on Ma and Pa Kettle Math that might help.