Reduced police force could be final chapter in the slow death of Rob Ford’s half-baked campaign promise
Last week, news broke that the Toronto police plan to offer severance packages to hundreds of police officers (which police chief Bill Blair is none too happy about)—hoping the expendable would choose to go quietly rather than forcing their superiors to lay them off. The cuts are aimed at meeting Mayor Rob Ford’s onerous budget demands, and clearly not in keeping with his campaign promise to put 100 more police on the street (but, hey, what’s a campaign promise really worth these days?). Of course, in the past, the mayor has supported the police to the point of absurdity, so we don’t doubt he sincerely believed more cops on the city streets would make Toronto a safer place. But what’s doubtful is that Ford actually did his homework before making the now suspect campaign promise (at the very least, he obviously didn’t consult with police beforehand).
The dirt, in the form of yesterday’s report from city manager Joe Pennachetti:
Consider reducing the size of the police force through budgetary means, and a business-based approach to efficiency and effectiveness. This could include reducing or temporarily eliminating hiring of new officers, providing incentives for early retirement benefits savings, and one-officer patrols in appropriate circumstances.
Because policing is a serious business—and because Canada’s crime rate is down, after all—we won’t speculate on how large the force needs to be in order to keep Toronto reasonably safe. Nonetheless, the larger reductions recommendation is still a significant departure from the campaign promise Ford made (but probably wouldn’t have been able to keep in the first place). Until yesterday, Ford insisted that he simply requested all city agencies to find “10 per cent efficiencies.” We suspect that if—or when—the police proceed with buyouts, Ford might simply throw his hands up and lament that the police couldn’t do the hard math necessary to keep more officers on the street. It would be their fault, not his. But Pennachetti’s recommendations may not allow him to play that card.
• Toronto police may be offered buyouts [Toronto Star]
• Ford’s plan to hire more police, only cops don’t want them [Toronto Star]
• Toronto could lose 400 police officers to buyouts [The Globe and Mail]
3 thoughts on “Reduced police force could be final chapter in the slow death of Rob Ford’s half-baked campaign promise”
Be assured the city of Toronto will be a very different place in four years. Will it be less efficient, less safe or less desireable to live or work in?
It isn’t very reassuring that the man with the plan was first off going to give Toronto 100 more police officers, then he withdraws that one. Then he grants them a rather easy and rich contract which would impact on his budget. Then he asks the Chief to show him what a police service will look like with a certain percentage of dollars and positions removed. No record of plan or consistance.
Child daycare positions. This surely hurts those who require the service most and least can afford to make do without it.
Doesn’t sound like a plans or visions to me. Understand that spending has to be curbed, but not so sure that this is going to be accomplished in a reasonable manner.
First, Mayors Rob & Doug Ford won the removal of the Toronto Vehicle Registration Tax. Second, they kept the 2011 Property Tax the same as 2010, no increase. Result, cutting of services around Toronto because Rob & Doug have no use for them, even though many, many citizens of Toronto use and need them.
Someone might want to do a detailed examination about how our police force schedules its time and how many overtime hours are artificially created. A little judicious planning would likely keep all the cops on the streets – mind you without the rich overtime they’ve been used to collecting for so many years.
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