TPAC
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
 

Bulletins

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 112, March 5, 2019.



March 05 2019

1. Police budget increases about 5 per cent in 2019
2. New five year agreement with Toronto Police Association
3. New police legislation expected at Queens Park
4. Shotspotter dead in Toronto
5. Body cameras rejected in Montreal




Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 112, March 5, 2019.

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. Police budget increases about 5 per cent in 2019
2. New five year agreement with Toronto Police Association
3. New police legislation expected at Queens Park
4. Shotspotter dead in Toronto
5. Body cameras rejected in Montreal
6. Subscribe to the Bulletin
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1. Police budget increases about 5 per cent in 2019
Toronto Police Service Board has asked City Council for just over $ billion for the 2019 police Operating Budget. Its an increase of $30 million over last year, or 3 per cent, but it does not include the cost of the settlement with the Toronto Police Association  agreed to but still confidential waiting for police ratification - which will probably add another 2.5 per cent. This will mean an increase of more than 5 per cent, double the Cost of Living, or more than $50 million for 2019.

The document before the Board for approval at the January meeting was a report from the chief, a high-level discussion of expenditures. No details showing what is proposed to be spent on a program basis is included. Unlike every other city service, the police refuse to make public details on where money  in this case more than $1 billion  will be spent. The Board apparently thinks there is no obligation for the police to be open about what it plans to do with taxpayer money. For the police service this is business as usual  an increase in expenditure much greater than any other city service, and no budget detail to back it up. In TPACs opinion it is unacceptable, but that view seems not to be shared by decision-makers.

TPAC told the Boar this request had serious gaps which should be addressed:

1) Of assistance in dealing with youth violence is the Neighbourhood Officer Program, now operating in 33 neighbourhoods. But the planned expansion into more neighbourhoods is not part of this budget. Apparently 120 more officers would be needed for this, but it is not happening.

2) In his recent report Mr. Justice Tulloch stresses the need for police forces to adopt programs addressing the issue of police culture, which he sees as a serious problem. The budget apparently contains no funds to deal with this issue.

3) As the Ontario Human Rights Commission has recently reported, the Toronto police service has a serious problem of racial discrimination. Members of the Black and Indigenous communities face much different treatment by the police than others. The budget apparently does not recognize this problem, and no funds are allocated to address this serious issue.

4) The biggest problem in Toronto is the increase in violence among and against young racialized men, resulting in many deaths but the budget does not allocate funds to the social programs recommended in the 2008 report Roots of Youth Violence and other studies since then. Mayor Tory argued that City Council itself is funding these programs, but there are questions as to whether that funding is adequate.

TPAC noted other problems with the proposed expenditures.

The service is finally re-arranging shift schedules so that instead of there being too many officers on duty when there are few calls for service, shifts are arranged so there is a better allocation of officers and demands for service. This means a better use of police and public resources. It should result in existing officers being better utilized. But this is not reflected in the budget request. Instead, the request asks for another 300 officers, even though 134 new officers were hired in December.

Further, special constables are now being hired to do the kinds of things officers used to do  that is a good change - at a cost saving of about 25 per cent. The document calls for hiring 122 more special constables, but any savings in officer expenditures are not reflected in the document.

As well, the document requests hiring 186 retired officers working almost full time (30 hours rather than 35 hours), and 200 new civilians. In total, the document proposes hiring more than 800 new staff, although there is no evidence that we know of that supports the notion that more police lead to less crime, fewer guns on our streets, better outcomes for youth, or lower rates of gender-based violence.

As usual, The Board simply received our deputation, and took no action on the concerns we raised. It is expected City Council will approve the budget request in March.

2. New five year agreement with Toronto Police Association

The Board has announced that a new five year agreement has been reached with the Police Association. Some details of the agreement have been leaked, awaiting ratification. The agreement is the amount of wage increase is 2.5 per cent in year one, a total of 11 per cent over the five years. That would give an officer about $100,000 a year after serving for five years, a very handsome salary. This wage increase is substantially more than offered to any other city employees.

The agreement does not shift schedules, which began to change in the last year even though the old collective agreement established a common shift schedule. It is unclear why the changing shift schedule was not addressed.
The new agreement re-iterates the requirement to have two officers in a car after dark, but apparently introduces some flexibility. The current requirement for two officers uses a lot of financial and personnel resources to no good effect.

It is regrettable that these two requirements - shift schedule and two in a car  continue in the collective agreement.

3. New police legislation at Queens Park

The government of Premier Doug Ford quickly made it clear, once elected in June, that it would not allow Bill 175, The Safer Ontario Act, passed by the previous Liberal government to stand, claiming it was hostile to police.

Now the government has released its own bill, The Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act. The announcement was made in a flurry of accusations about how the Liberals had tried to make it `tougher for the police to do their jobs, and that the new bill would, in comparison, treat `police with fairness and respect.

Except that the new bill has almost exactly the same content as Bill 175. Some names are changed  the Office of the Independent Police Review
Director now becomes the Law Enforcement Complaints Agency with the same powers and responsibilities  and some sections are put in a different order. But the substance of the legislation differs in only one or two minor aspects.

One change is that the fine for the police not reporting an incident to the Special Investigation Unit, the SIU, is reduced from a maximum of $50,000 to $5,000. Another is that where an officer comes across a suicide or injured person, there need not be an automatic SIU investigation. The government has said that SIU investigations should be completed within 120 days or an explanation must be given, but that provision was in Bill 175. There may be several other small changes hidden away, but the government has not drawn attention to them. In essence, it is the same bill, which means the shortcomings we noted in Bulletin 106, November 20, 2017, still remain.

4. Shotspotter dead in Toronto

The police service has confirmed that it is not proceeding with purchasing the shotspotter technology. As we noted in Bulletin No. 110, November 8, 2018, there were questions about its usefulness, and how it might offend the privacy provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The police were not clear about how it decided not to proceed, but it seems to relate to Charter issues and the effectiveness of the technology.

5. Body cameras rejected in Montreal

While the Toronto police service continues to implement the expensive body camera program, the Montreal police force has determined the cameras are simply not worth the investment.

After a pilot project with almost 80 officers, officials determined the costs for storing and analyzing data would be very high. There is also the question of when officers turn the cameras on, and issues of privacy.
See: https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/body-camera-pilot-project-shows-theyre-not-worth-it-montreal-police-say

6. 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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