The union representing Toronto police officers is warning that cuts to officers at the force is weakening their ability to keep the city safe.
A new website has been launched, stopthetorontopolicecuts.ca which states that “Toronto officers have reached a breaking point.” Since 2010, there have been 500 officers cut from the force, with a plan in place to cut another 400 officers by 2019.
“Toronto police are facing an alarming series of cuts that affect police staffing,” the website reads.
“Our officers are burning out, our civilians are burning out. We talked to the service about it… but it’s fallen on deaf ears,” Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack told AM640.
By 2019, the plan is to employ 4,766 officers, which is an almost 20 per cent decrease compared to 2010 staffing levels.
LISTEN BELOW: Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack joins AM640.
Toronto’s largest policing division, 42 Division in Scarborough, is reportedly feeling the impact the most. Only three or four patrol cars are available to cover almost 300,000 residents in the area, according to the union.
“We’re getting calls up in the northwest, one our busiest divisions — we had eight police officers out there. We had calls for domestic violence, calls for sexual assault. We had six calls for shots fired and there was no police officer to respond,” McCormack said.
The website calls on the public to send a message to Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders, board chair Andy Pringle and Mayor John Tory to “put public safety ahead of their cost-cutting agendas and re-invest in front-line community policing.”
Feedback from the civilian and uniform members showed that 75 per cent do not believe budget cuts are in the public’s best interest, and that 93 per cent believe the service is under-resourced.
McCormack said 95 members have resigned this year, and 36 of them have left for other police forces.
“We’re losing some of the best and the brightest here.”
Toronto police cannot formally strike as they are deemed an essential service.