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Yukon boosts RCMP budget by $3.5M to add more officers, update equipment

The RCMP detachment in Beaver Creek, Yukon. The police service will see a $3.5-million budget increase from the territorial government this year. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
The RCMP detachment in Beaver Creek, Yukon. The police service will see a $3.5-million budget increase from the territorial government this year. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

The Yukon government is giving the local RCMP a big boost in funding, and some of that money will go toward hiring more officers in the territory.

The territorial budget tabled earlier this month includes an additional $3.5 million per year in core funding for the police.

That's nearly as big an increase in one year as the government gave the force over the first five years the Liberals were in power, starting in 2016.

Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee acknowledged it's a significant boost this year.

"We certainly have heard from the RCMP about ... what they need to achieve, and what they think they need to do that — and our response this year is a significant increase for them," McPhee said Wednesday.

Some of the funding will go toward 7.5 new full time staff positions. McPhee says most of those will be new police officers, and at least one will be a staff member who's not an officer.

Paul Tukker/CBC
Paul Tukker/CBC

Speaking in the legislature earlier this week, McPhee said nearly $900,000 of the new funding will go toward one-time costs such as replacing the RCMP's aircraft engine, and modernizing some arms and equipment.

Another $122,000 will go toward things such as a boat replacement program and infrastructure.

The bulk — more than $2.5 million — will go toward ongoing costs such as lab costs, training, IT and equipment, and the new staff positions.

McPhee said the police service will expand its Historic Case Unit and its Crime Reduction Unit. She added police will continue to target the drug trade in the territory.

"There is certainly an aspect of policing that will support the substance health emergency," she said.

Under Yukon's cost-sharing agreement with Ottawa, the territory covers 70 per cent of the Yukon RCMP's budget, and the federal government covers the remaining 30 per cent.

Neither of the leaders of Yukon's opposition parties were available to comment on this year's budget increase for police.