After proposing its budget be increased by nearly four per cent next year, the Toronto Police Service has been given a green light to move forward.
The decision came Monday afternoon during the Toronto Police Services Board meeting. However, it still requires approval from city council.
The proposal stipulates a 3.9 per cent increase for 2020, which would be mean a total budget of $1.076 billion. The proposed 2020 budget is $40.8 million higher than the 2019 budget.
“During the time I’ve been mayor and a member of the police board, the police budget has increased by an average – including this year – of 1.6 per cent, but there are going to be fluctuations up and down in that number depending on the needs,” Mayor John Tory told reporters following the board meeting.
“For me, it is just important to do what is right … and I think given some of the events in 2019 and for that matter 2018, this kind of investment … was called for and I think is appropriate and I’ll be supporting it at city council.”
According to Monday’s agenda, the majority of the budget increase is related to “the impact of applying the collective agreements with the Toronto Police Association and Senior Officers’ Organization” — representing 2.8 per cent.
The cash infusion would also allow for 140 new uniformed officers to be deployed to Priority Response Units (PRU) across the city, as part of a new shift schedule, to address an increase in calls for service and response times.
PRU responds to 911 emergencies and attends calls for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
Eight new traffic officers would be hired to focus on Vision Zero enforcement priorities and 40 new neighbourhood community officers would also be deployed.
Funds would be funneled towards creating five new positions in the equity, inclusion and human rights unit, along with the implementation of a body worn camera program.
“It will have, for purposes of financing all of this, an inflation only increase in the taxation required for these operating budgets and it will be paid for as everything else is, by the city’s overall budget,” said Tory.