Number of police in Canada on the rise: StatsCan OTTAWA — The number of police officers in Canada has reached its highest level since 1981, growing to approximately 69,000 members — an increase that was reflected in the number of crimes solved. Canadian police forces added 2,000 members in the first four months of 2010, according to data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada. The added officers pushed the officer-to-citizen ratio to 203 officers for every 100,000 people, an increase of two per cent. The growth, while good news, according to Canadian Police Association president Charles Momy, also points to some of the challenges police forces are facing. "Police services are taking on more work outside their traditional policing sort of work," Momy said. Momy pointed to the example of mental-health units, which are popping up across the country to deal with a social problem typically handled by the health-care system. "Unfortunately, police (have) become a social support mechanism when everything else is failing," Momy said. "New units are being created because, unfortunately, municipal governments and police services feel they have to do something that nobody else can really do, financially." A greater police presence is also needed to deal with new types of crimes, such as Internet-based offences, he said. The Statistics Canada data suggested that with the added number of officers the proportion of crimes solved increased. For Momy, that's no coincidence. "The proof is in the pudding that more crimes are solved as the result of having more police officers within services," he said. He added that he believes the growth will slow or stop in the coming years because of the tight budgets necessitated by the sluggish economy. The volume of police-reported crime decreased, although the severity of such crime also lessened. Saskatchewan and Alberta reported the largest increases in new hires at six and five per cent, respectively. Despite the increase, Alberta has the second-lowest officer-to-citizen ratio, ahead of only Prince Edward Island. In Census Metropolitan Areas, Saint John, N.B., reported the highest officer-to-citizen ratio, followed by Regina, Thunder Bay, Ont., and Saskatoon. Kelowna, B.C., and Moncton, had the lowest ratios. The number of female police officers continued to rise at a faster pace than male officers between 2009 and 2010. Women now represent about one in five officers, compared to one in 15 in 1990.