TORONTO: The Toronto Police Service has asked for a 2.3 per cent increase in its operating budget for 2022.
The Service said the increase will help it to continue to do more in the areas that matter most to Torontonians, without increasing the Service’s share of the City of Toronto’s overall budget.
The additional funds will allow the Service to invest in some key priorities, mainly through the reallocation of existing resources. “As one of the fastest-growing cities in North America, Toronto is changing rapidly and we need to be where Torontonians want us the most,” said Chief of Police James Ramer.
“Throughout 2021, we heard firsthand from members of the public about where more support is needed. This feedback has been top of mind as I laid out my priorities for 2022.”
The budget increase can help address areas that matter most to the people of Toronto:
• Growing the Neighbourhood Community Officer program – which currently has 178 officers in 38 of the city’s 158 neighborhoods – by redeploying resources to help increase the number of officers working in and with communities to make Toronto safer.
• Supporting Vision Zero – with a group of 18 officers dedicated to traffic law enforcement – to make our roads safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. This team has issued more than 41,000 traffic tickets in 2021 alone.
• Expanding the number of police officers who receive enhanced mental health training so we can better respond to people in crisis. As we continue to find new ways to work with community partners on various alternative service delivery models, we are committed to continued partnerships in this area, which began with our Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams 20 years ago.
• Increasing resources dedicated to preventing and investigating hate crimes. Toronto experienced a more than 50 per cent spike in reported hate crimes in 2020 – an increase that continued in 2021. In order to better support the city’s vulnerable communities, the Service has expanded its dedicated Hate Crime Unit and is working collaboratively with its Community Consultative Committees (CCCs), including the Service’s Black CCC, LGBTQ2S+ CCC and new Jewish CCC, who advise the Chief directly on how we can better serve their communities.
• Re-introducing a city wide dedicated investigative team mandated to work with police partners from across the Province to address emerging serious crime trends such as a significant increase in auto thefts.