TPAC
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
 

Bulletins

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 105, September 21, 2017.



September 21 2017

1. More on pre-charge screening in Ontario
2. New study on two officer cars
3. New study on Torontos shift schedule
4. The Transitional Task Force derailed



Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 105, September 21, 2017.

This Bulletin is published by the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition (TPAC), 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 Bulletin:
1. More on pre-charge screening in Ontario
2. New study on two officer cars
3. New study on Torontos shift schedule
4. The Transitional Task Force derailed
5. Subscribe to the Bulletin.
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1. More on pre-charge screening in Ontario

In Bulletin 104 we reported on the study Toronto Police Accountability Coalition has commissioned on pre-charge screening where crown prosecutors screen charges police wish to lay. Courts in pre-charge provinces have considerably lower caseloads, an average of 22 per cent lower than the other provinces, and multi-charge cases  often a sign of over-charging - are much less frequent in pre-charge provinces. Ontario has 1.5 times as many multi-charge cases per capita as Quebec. Further, in pre-charge provinces many fewer cases are either stayed or withdrawn.
The full study and the endorsements can be found at http://tpac.ca/show_issues.cfm?id=209 and http://tpac.ca/show_issues.cfm?id=210.

TPAC has since learned that the Attorney General of Ontario, Yasir Naqvi, has undertaken two pilot projects on pre-charge screening, placing crowns in 51 Division in Toronto and in the central Ottawa police station. the crown is placed in the station to `consult with officers on a number of things: whether to charge; the appropriate charges; pre-charge release; evidence, and disclosure. These are two year pilot projects, ending in early 2019.

2. New study on two officer charges

TPAC also commissioned a study on the use of two officers in a car, something which the collective agreement with the Toronto Police Association requires in Toronto from 4 pm to 4 am.

The study shows that two officer cars do not provide a level of safety greater than one officer patrol cars; that most calls not do require that two officers be present; that other police forces do not have the requirement that all cars must have two officers at specific times, but instead determine that two officer cars are optional.

Unfortunately there appear to be no studies about the extraordinary extra cost incurred by two officer cars, or the waste of human and financial resources they entail. It appears that two officers in a car is a good example of featherbedding which should not be tolerated.

The study can be found at http://tpac.ca/show_issues.cfm?id=213 .
TPAC will present this study to the Toronto Service Police Board on October 26 with the request that the Board state publicly that one of its objectives in collective bargaining negotiations which are about to begin, that it remove this requirement from the collective agreement with a view to both saving money and providing more efficient service.

3. New study on Torontos shift schedule

TPAC also commissioned a study on Torontos shift schedule. The study shows that the current shift schedule has officers working 28 hours in every 24 hour period; that it requires the same number of officers to be on duty at every hour of every day and night no matter what the demand for service; that the lack of demand for services may lead officers to perform tasks which are not in the public interest; that other police forces have shift schedules which permit a variable number of officers on duty to respond to demand for service.

It seems clear that the current shift schedule does not serve the public interest, involving much higher costs than needed, and wasting police human resources.

The study can be found at http://tpac.ca/show_issues.cfm?id=212 . It will be presented to the Board on October 26 asking the Board to state publicly that one of its objectives in collective agreement negotiations, is to achieve a more reasonable shift schedule.

4. The Transitional Task Force derailed

In February of this year the Toronto Police Services Board, with great fanfare, adopted the Transitional Task Force report which outlined a program to reform the Toronto police service. Front and centre was the commitment not to hire any new officers for the next three years, but instead allow the force to shrink by the estimated 250 officers who leave or retire each year. Another recommendation was that there would be no promotions during that three year period.

The Toronto Police Association, representing officers, began a campaign in July arguing that police were short staffed and could not respond to the demand. Negotiations then took place with the Board and senior management, and an agreement was arrived at that 80 officers would be hired, coming on board at the end of the year. But since then the pressure has intensified, and TPA has begun a campaign with officers wearing baseballs hats, not the standard police hat pushing for even more new hires.

It is clear (from the two studies cited above) that the biggest problem in the Toronto police service is not that there are too few officers, but that they are employed in ways and times when they are not available to respond to public demand. Having two officers sitting in an idle patrol car at 4 am with nothing to do is a waste of money and resources. It is unclear why the chief and the Board did not bargain about this in agreeing to 80 new hires.

At the same time, the chief appointed three new deputy chiefs, again in breach of the Transitional Task Force program. Worse, all three are internal appointments, officers who have spent their whole policing lives in the Toronto police force. It is unreasonable to expect to change the culture and the work of the Toronto police by appointing individuals who know nothing else.

5. 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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