Description: OPS_BLK_ENG






30 July 2012



Executive Director, Ottawa Police Services Board



Chief of Police, Ottawa Police Service



2012 Environmental Scan





That the Ottawa Police Services Board receive this report for information.




The Police Services Act, Reg.3/99, s. 30 (1) requires that all Boards prepare a Business Plan once every three years that will assist in guiding program and service delivery decisions over the time period.  The Business Plan establishes the strategic directions, high-level priorities, goals and measurable outcomes to achieve the organization’s mandated and legislative responsibilities.  Because of its medium-term focus, it is responsive and evolves over time to adjust to the changing policing and community environment and expressed through the Police Service’s annual operational planning and budgeting cycle. 


The Police Services Board has developed five business plans since the police services amalgamated in 1995, with the current Business Plan concluding December 2012.  The 2013-2015 Business Plan Framework below identifies key deliverables and the projected schedule for the development and approval stages for the next Business Plan.


In its governance role, the Ottawa Police Services Board will continue its focus on setting strategic direction by providing ongoing feedback and input to the Business Plan’s key inputs, community engagement and consultation, the Strategic Agenda, and approvals.




To ensure that relevant information is available for consideration by the Police Services Board and the Ottawa Police in the development of the Strategic Agenda, the Environmental Scan includes quantitative and qualitative research drawn from numerous sources, as well as input obtained through the Police Service’s and Board’s community engagement initiatives.


The 2012 Environmental Scan is a snapshot in time - a broad account of the environment in which policing services are delivered. It focuses on trends and issues that have the potential to impact the community and the Ottawa Police Service’s ability to meet its legislative responsibilities, and be responsive to the changing community over the next three to five years.


The inputs to the 2012 Environmental Scan include:

·              2012 Public Survey on Policing Services; 

·              2012 Member Engagement Survey of Ottawa Police members;

·              Key demographic and socio-economic indicators, including municipal population forecasts;

·              Local, provincial, and national crime trends;

·              Local, provincial, national and international policing trends;

·              Legislative trends/agenda at the provincial and national scene;

·              Survey of the Mayor and City Councillors’ perceptions of safety, community priorities and levels of satisfaction with policing services; and,

·              Community issues and trends gathered through ongoing community engagement and consultations undertaken by the Ottawa Police Services Board and Ottawa Police Service through venues such as the PSB public interest meetings, Youth Let’s Chat, and Regional Safe Schools Committee.


The following are some of the key themes that emerge from the findings in the Environmental Scan (Annex A).  It is important to note that no single finding stands alone as there are linkages between each of the themes.


Ottawa is a growing, aging, and increasingly culturally diverse community

·        Based on current City of Ottawa projections, Ottawa is steadily growing, and at a faster rate than the provincial average. There were 923,041 Ottawa residents in 2011, and forecasts estimate the city will grow to 976,747 people by 2016.   Suburban wards of Gloucester-South Nepean, Barrhaven, and Kanata North are projected to have significantly larger population growth by 2021 compared to other wards in the City.

·        Ottawa continues to become more culturally diverse.  Approximately 25 percent of Ottawa’s residents were born outside of Canada and immigration is accounting for a large proportion of population growthVisible minority groups represent close to 20 percent of the total population in Ottawa (2006).  The Social Planning Council of Ottawa reports that Ottawa’s visible minority population is younger compared to the overall immigrant and total population of Ottawa, and has a predominance of women, particularly Filipino, Japanese, Latin American, and Black.

·        The proportion of seniors aged 65+ in Ottawa is expected to more than double between 2011 and 2031, to a projected 253,950 individuals.  In 2031, more than one in five residents will be over 65. Driven by the aging of the Baby Boom generation, it is anticipated that the median age in the City will continue to rise. 

·        Police Services will require the tools to monitor and respond (services and programs) to the demands of the shifting demographics and the changing composition of the community, including youth, visible minorities, aboriginal, marginalized, and vulnerable populations.


Promoting an organizational culture in which Everyone Matters

·        Police are the public, and the public are the police, the police being only members of the public[1] who are granted the full-time responsibility to prevent crime and disorder.

·        Organizations are defined by their people, the individual and collective performance of their duties and their contributions to their community.  An engaged member, satisfied clients, along with strong operational performance, results in positive outcomes of public trust and a safer community.  The OPS has a high calibre, professional, and well respected membership who are proud to work for the organization.  The considerable strengths and continued engagement of OPS members will help promote an organizational culture where everyone matters and is supported.

·        There is increasing recognition within law enforcement of the importance of work-life balance and the need to manage this in practice, especially for younger members and those with multiple competing workloads.  Research suggests OPS performs relatively well in this area, relative to other Canadian police services.

·        There are several well-established well-being and professional development initiatives in place at OPS, although job mobility is still an important issue that continues to affect members’ views. Work continues in this area.

·        Attracting, recruiting, training, developing and retaining good employees in an increasing competitive labour market is an ongoing concern for policing agencies in Canada and across North America.  Attracting future police professionals from diverse communities and candidates with specialized skills continues to be a challenge.


Officer visibility and broader focus on crime prevention

·        Increased officer visibility and contact at the neighbourhood level is important to Ottawa citizens.  When asked what factors have the most influence on their perception of the Ottawa Police Service, a third of citizens list “seeing police around” as the most important factor, with another quarter saying that direct contacts or experiences with officers is the dominant factor.  Opportunities exist to improve working with residents to address local concerns, and continue to address the community’s top five neighbourhood concerns of:  Speeding cars/aggressive driving; break & enters; vandalism; youth crime; and, theft from vehicles.

·        There is a broader focus on crime prevention that requires an integrated approach to problem-solving that is built on healthy partnerships between the police and an engaged community.  Police, however, do not solely own the problem of crime prevention and reduction, but are partners in the process.


Strong trend towards increased public accountability, public trust, and ethics in the policing sector

·        Police services must be prepared to address the increasing public interest in and scrutiny of the actions of law enforcement agencies.  Incidents involving alleged police misconduct have created concern for police leaders, civilian oversight bodies, and the community.  There has been notable public demand to ensure that honesty, integrity, professionalism, and ethical conduct are emphasized as essential core values of policing.  

·        Ottawa residents have expressed high levels of satisfaction and confidence in the Ottawa Police Service, and these are positive findings to build upon.

·        The cost of police misconduct is high. It erodes public trust and confidence. Misconduct can have a wide reaching impact on police/community relations from reduced cooperation in police investigations, discouraging community mobilization and partnering, and adversely impacting recruitment initiatives, especially in diverse communities.  Alleged and proven police misconduct also has a demoralizing effect on police members, their families, and the organization.

·        In order to reduce the likelihood of misconduct from occurring and ultimately reduce the harm associated with police misconduct, police services have placed greater emphasis on risk management initiatives.  The Ottawa Police Service has invested in an Ethics Program, and risk management and quality assurance programs and initiatives, and this must continue to maintain public trust, accountability and ethical standards.


Levels of reported crime & Responding to new and emerging crimes

·        The decreasing number of reported crimes per year represents a significant positive trend for Ottawa, although the number of priority one calls has increased over the past six years and public survey evidence suggests a quarter of crimes may go unreported.

·        Police agencies continue to focus on delivering core services and addressing community crime and disorder concerns (e.g. assistance to victims, traffic safety, drugs, street-level crime, enforcing the law).  However, they must also be vigilant in monitoring and responding to new /emerging crime (new drugs such as MDPV/bath salts, gun trafficking and human trafficking), and the changing nature of crime, crimes “without borders”, such as Internet/cyber crime, identity theft, and fraud, which requires an investment in training, technology, and equipment.

·        Another broad area of police focus is ensuring public safety.  This includes a continued focus on managing protests and working hard alongside partner agencies to monitor and respond to intolerance and extremism.


Emerging technology

·        Technology and supports for police are constantly evolving and improving and are an opportunity to combat crime.  Advances in forensic technology and techniques, crime analysis, protective equipment, surveillance, communication, and biometrics are improving the delivery of police services.

·        Law enforcement agencies are challenged to keep pace with the expanding scale and scope of technology, having the financial resources to invest in equipment and training, and balancing costs, cost savings, and outcomes.

·        New technologies affect certain areas of policing more than others.  For example, the internet and cloud computing are key tools for serious and organized crime and online fraud.  As well, new uses of social media also have implications for protection of vulnerable groups and youth (e.g. ‘sexting’), along with investigative purposes, and the increasing use by the public to capture police on duty.


Increasing demands on front line officers

·        Police agencies are facing increased demands on front-line officers due to changes in provincial and federal legislation and community expectations, which impact training, equipment, increased paperwork, and public/judicial accountability.

·        The nature of policing is changing, which is evidenced from the recent policing summits that have occurred in the United States, United Kingdom, and most recently in Ontario.  Due to increasing pressures and demands, police agencies are revisiting their service delivery models.


Increased focus on cost effectiveness and sustainability

·        Improvements to public sector cost effectiveness and resourcing is another broad pressure that is affecting organizations around the world.  Linked to the global/Western economic slowdown, managing the response is influencing new ways and models of policing.

·        Police services across the country are facing financial pressures that have constrained their investments in the delivery of public policing and created pressure on municipal budgets. 

·        In response to financial pressures, increasing demands and community expectations, and the operational reality of delivering police services / compliance with legislative standards, opportunities for continuous improvement / exploring new ways of doing business are being examined in order to build a sustainable model for the future.  Opportunities exist for joint work around cost effectiveness, partnerships with the community and law enforcement partners and are examples of an integrated strategy.

·        Moves towards cost effectiveness need to be matched with monitoring and accountability that is time-effective and consistent. 


Additional details and information are contained in Annex A.




The 2012 Environmental Scan forms part of the Ottawa Police Service’s compliance with Provincial Adequacy Standards and Ottawa Police Services Board Policy AI-001, Framework for Business Planning. 




Along with the quantitative and qualitative research and community input in the 2012 Environmental Scan, the Ottawa Police Service continually receives community input from a variety of sources including:  Board meetings and community forums; ongoing consultation and discussion with community based policing partners (e.g. COMPAC, GLBT); the Mayor and Councillors; community organizations; businesses and business associations; youth; school boards; and, other policing and emergency services partners.


Community feedback on the 2012 Environmental Scan will be encouraged as it will be available on the Ottawa Police website




There are no immediate financial impacts or implications from the results of the Environmental Scan. 




The 2012 Environmental Scan is a snapshot in time, a broad account of the environment in which policing services are delivered, along with trends and issues that that have the potential to impact the community and the Ottawa Police Service’s ability to meet its legislative responsibilities and be responsive to the changing community over the next three to five years.  In the short term, it is an input for the Ottawa Police Services Board and the Police Service in setting the strategic directions, high-level priorities, goals and outcomes for the upcoming 2013-2015 Business Plan.  It will continue to be a work in progress, regularly refreshed to reflect research conducted by the Ottawa Police Service, the academic and policing community local, provincial, national and international levels to ensure that the Business Plan remains responsive to the changing policing and community environment


Over the coming months, there will be additional opportunities for member and community input, engagement, and consultation as we move forward with the 2013-2015 business planning process. 


<originally signed by>



Charles Bordeleau

Chief of Police


Annex A (Executive Summary: 2012 Environmental Scan)







This document contains information that reports on activities related to the Ottawa Police Business Plan.

[1] Excerpt, Peel’s Nine Principles of Policing, Sir Robert Peel