TPAC
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
 

Bulletins

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 65, December 1, 2011.



December 01 2011

1. Judicial findings of misconduct
2. Police 2012 operating budget
3. Making a deputation before the Toronto Police Services Board
4. Occupy Toronto
5. C-10, the Omnibus Crime Bill
6. Service Efficiency Study of Toronto Police
7. Paying for the G20 Review



Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 65, December 1, 2011.
This Bulletin is published by the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, a group of individuals and organizations in Toronto interested in police policies and procedures, and in making police more accountable to the community they are committed to serving. Our website is http://www.tpac.ca
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In this issue:
1. Judicial findings of misconduct
2. Police 2012 operating budget
3. Making a deputation before the Toronto Police Services Board
4. Occupy Toronto
5. C-10, the Omnibus Crime Bill
6. Service Efficiency Study of Toronto Police
7. Paying for the G20 Review
8. Subscribe to the Bulletin
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1. Judicial findings of police misconduct

Criminal lawyer Clayton Ruby appeared at the Toronto Police Services Board on November 24, asking that the Board adopt policies which ensure there is a strong response when judges find that officers have acted improperly. He came armed with a few of the many press reports of a judge dismissing an officers evidence because he found it evasive and contrived, or because he thought the evidence was contrived.

Ruby suggested that a policy should include:
1) Crown Attorneys should report to police authorities any judicial findings that Toronto officers did not testify honestly or acted to violate constitutional rights;
2) The officer-in-charge, or any officers present should have a duty to report any such findings to the chief;
3) The chief should order a transcript of the reasons for decision in any such case;
4) The chief should then report every such instance to the Board, with the transcript;
5) The chief should further report on what action was taken on the matter;
6) The chief should report annually to the Board on such matters.

Chief Bill Blair assured the Board that these matters were regularly investigated when they came to staff attention, and this was confirmed by Deputy Chief Mike Frederico. The Board, however, seemed convinced by Rubys argument, and instructed the chair of the Board to discuss these policy proposals with Blair and report back.

2. Police 2012 operating budget

The cartoon in the Annex Gleaner captures the situation well. It shows a large muscled boxer with his hands in the air in victory. `Toronto Police budget is written on his boxing trunks. The referee is talking into a microphone: `The winner and still champion ,..

Indeed, the police budget trumped all other spending in the draft 2012 budget at Torontos City Hall. Except for the Planning department which has a special program this year, the police is the only city service which Mayor Ford agrees should receive a spending increase. That increase is in the face of closing homeless shelters, reduced recreation programs for kids, and reduced social service programs. Its hardly a pretty picture.

You would never know this from Chief Bill Blairs report of October 18 to the Toronto Police Services Board. He writes that the budget request he is recommending of $936 million achieves $43 million (or 46 per cent) of the Citys 10 per cent target reduction. This statement is so inaccurate as to almost constitute fraud.

The chiefs preliminary budget request for 2012 was $970 million  or $40 million more than the $930 million budgeted for 2011. The city said it wanted all city services to come forward with a budget showing a 10 per cent cut from 2011, which would have meant the police budget should come in at around $840 million. But city staff took various things into consideration, and said the target for police for 2012 was $886 million, which was more like a 5 per cent cut.

In the face of the city directive, the Board agreed to a new collective agreement with staff with salary and other increases requiring an extra $23 million in spending for 2011 and a similar impact for 2012. City staff and police staff continued to chip away and by September the 2012 request was down to $947 million, still far above the city target, and more than $16 million above the 2011 budget.

Then came the deal between the mayors office and the chief saying $936 million would be OK. Contrary to the Chiefs claim, this is an increase over the 2011 budget, and makes no effort to incorporate any reduction. Sadly, no member of the Board was willing to correct the chiefs report and return it to the realms of reality. One suspects the chief will argue for next years budget that he made big cuts for 2012.

3. Making a deputation before the Toronto Police Services Board

Members of the public have often expressed concern about the police, but they have no idea about how to make these concerns known. In fact, it is possible for any citizen to make a five minute deputation before the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), the government body that oversees the Toronto Police Services, at their monthly meetings.

The following tells you how to apply for permission to make a deputation and offers some guidelines on what to exclude and include in your deputation. First, proceed to the Toronto Police Services Board website at, http://www.tpsb.ca/Frontpage/ . Once there, click on, Agenda, and then on, Making a Deputation,

Read the guidelines very carefully and then write your deputation.

Many members of the TPAC Executive Committee have presented before the Board on different subjects, and our experience has taught us that:

1) Your presentation should focus on policies or general practices. The Board will reject any application for a deputation that focuses on your own experiences with a specific police officer or consists mainly of complaints about a specific officer. The Board is interested in, and has jurisdiction over, police policies. It does not concern itself with day-to-day operational matters.

2) In your presentation, speak directly and exclusively to the issue you came to speak about. Do not wander off topic. If you can, provide evidence (photographs, newspaper articles or other kinds of evidence) to support your case. Anecdotes from friends or neighbours, rumours or other unsubstantiated opinions will not be taken seriously.

3) Be polite. You may have had bad experiences with the police but directing your anger or indignation toward Board members will only hurt your case.

4) The Board will hold you to the five minute time limit. Dont be surprised or insulted if they interrupt you in mid-sentence.

5) Most of the time there will be no questions and at the end of your deputation you will be thanked and dismissed. Dont assume that lack of reaction means that your presentation had no effect. At the least, you will have caused the Board to think about the issues you have raised and it may become a topic of discussion amongst Board members and even lead to some action.

6) Board members will occasionally ask questions. Some questions may sound hostilesome may actually be hostile. Dont lose your cool. Answer all questions as best you can. Remaining calm is the best way to get the Board to take you seriously.

4. Occupy Toronto

Members of Occupy Toronto, the group concerned about economic inequality and associated with Occupy Wall Street in New York, left St. James Park by November 23. TPAC, like others, was concerned about how an eviction might occur. Earlier in the month police accompanied city staff to serve eviction notices to those in the 150 tents in the park informing the protesters that the evictions could be carried out at any time after 12:01 am on November 15. It seemed as though there would be a late-night raid by police on sleeping protesters. Fortunately, the court intervened to delay evictions.

TPAC wrote Mayor Ford and Chief Blair: If it is decided that the protesters are to be evicted, we call on you, given the complete absence of any urgency or any threat to public safety, to ensure that the eviction occurs after the giving of fair notice (perhaps 48 hours), and during daylight hours, under the full view of the public and media, with as little police involvement as possible. If police are to be involved, we call on Chief Blair to ensure that police do their jobs without using violence on those who chose to engage in non-violent civil disobedience, and to refrain from violating the privacy of protesters' tents and dwellings without court authorization. No emergency exists here, and there is no excuse for police failing to conduct themselves with transparency, accountability, decorum, and restraint.

After the court decision had been issued permitting the evictions to proceed, we were pleased to find that they took place in an appropriate manner: generally peaceably, in daylight hours, without violence. We hope the police recognize this is generally the way reasonable people expect the police to act.

TPAC made another demand: Those who are homeless should be offered satisfactory alternative housing that they can afford, as occurred some years ago for the residents of Tent City near the Keating Channel on the waterfront. As already noted, resolving economic inequality is the proper response to the movement, and this small step helps move in that direction. Not addressing the homelessness question simply confirms the validity of the protest. This demand was not part of the citys response.

5. C-10, the Omnibus Crime Bill

Rarely has one seen such widespread criticism of a government bill as one has seen for the Omnibus Crime Bill. As many have said, this legislation promoted by the Harper government promises to substantially increase prison costs and probably increases recidivism rates. It makes it harder for someone convicted of a crime to rejoin normal social life, and it is particularly hard on youth, promising to criminalize more of their actions. Many newspapers have written editorials in opposition to the legislation, and the Quebec minister of justice has warned that his government might refuse to pay the costs involved in increased imprisonments. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said he agreed with the Quebec position.

TPAC wrote to the Legislative Committee in Ottawa handling the legislation, the Justice and Human Rights Committee, asking to speak on the Bill. The committee consists of 12 MPPs: seven Conservatives, 4 NDP, and one Liberal. The Conservative majority had decided to limit speakers to five minutes each, and to limit the number of days when presentations were allowed. The Opposition parties were given a limited number of times when those they wanted to present would be allowed to. When our brief was run past the committee, no member of the committee agreed to give one of the limited speaking spots to TPAC.

The Canadian Bar Association was permitted to speak. At its annual meeting this summer the lawyers who attended voted unanimously to oppose Bill C-10, and staff drafted a 100 page brief. Yet the Association, the voice of Canadian lawyers, was allowed but five minutes. This is obviously a government which thinks others do not have useful opinions.

The Conservative MPs on the committee are an interesting lot. The chair of the committee, Dave McKenzie, was the former police chief of Woodstock, Ontario. The other six Conservative members are all lawyers: Kerry-Lynne Findlay of Vancouver; Robert Goguen of Moncton; Brian Jean of Fort McMurray; Brent Rathgerber of Edmonton; Kyle Seeback of Brampton; and Stephen Woodworth of Kitchener. All that expensive education and it produces politicians who apparently can't think for themselves and/or are unable to realize what social harm they are about to cause.

6. Service Efficiency Study of Toronto Police

A Service Efficiency Study of Toronto Police has recently been conducted for the city by Ernst & Young. The general approach of the study was to compare the Toronto force with other police forces in the western world, then show where savings might occur. Its a fairly standard approach used by management consultants although, as in this case, it produces rough and ready conclusions which may or may not make sense, while not taking account of innovative ways of doing things.

The largest savings, according to this report, are found in changing the shift schedule from shifts of 10  10  8 hours a day to 8  8  8. It estimates that this change could save about $35 million a year, although it notes that the collective agreement will not allow this to be done until 2015. (TPAC made the same argument before the new collective agreement was ratified, to no avail.) The study also makes suggestions of how the force might operate with 100 fewer officers if everyone had less spare time; that more than 200 officer positions could be civilianized to save $3.7 million; as well as smaller savings. The study does not look at efficiencies that might be achieved by reducing the need for two-officer cars; nor at whether patrol work should be reduced as generally being of little value; nor of rethinking how to do effective community policing.

A summary of the report can be found on the agenda of the Toronto Police Services Board for November 24.

7. Paying for the G20 review

As previously reported, the Toronto Police Services Board retained the former Mr. Justice John Morden to review the actions of the Board and the police service during the G20 meetings at the end of June 2010. While several evening public hearings occurred earlier this Fall, most of the review is taking place privately.

But the cost of the review is borne by Toronto property tax payers. To date, the review has cost $658,120.51. The Board knows that further costs will be incurred before the review is completed, and has obtained a further allocation from the city Executive Committee, of $480,000. This extra amount is being funded from the anticipated surplus in the police budget for 2011. If it is all spent, then the cost of the review will exceed $1.1 million. It is unclear when the report of Mr. Morden will be available although rumour is that it will be March 2012.

Storeowners whose windows were smashed during the G20 have yet to be compensated by any level of government. Theres a real question of priorities about how money is being spent.
Meanwhile, a report from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director states that officers say they were ordered, on the day after the vandalism by the Black Block, to search and make arrests of those wearing bandanas or masks concealing their identify. Noting that order, if given, was unconstitutional, lawyer Clayton Ruby has suggested there should be a royal inquiry into the events of the G20.
8. Subscribe to the Bulletin.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this Bulletin, please send a note to info@tpac.ca with the instructions in the subject line or in the text of the message. Our e-mail list is confidential and will not be made available to others. There is no charge for the Bulletin. Our website is http://www.tpac.ca.
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