Rob Ford wants to hire 100 more cops for Toronto. Yet, he has not talked to anyone in the Toronto Police Service or the board to see if this is necessary or feasible financially.
those in high-ranking circles are questioning why the tight-fisted mayor
made the costly pledge without consulting the service, its union or its
board, about whether more officers are needed.
Since 2005, crime is down across Toronto by about 30 per cent. Over that
same period, the force has been struggling to get hold of its worsening
Wages and benefits account for 90 per cent of the police budget, which
is also the largest item in Toronto’s $9.2 billion operating budget.
The number of police officers on the Toronto force is decided by city council.
In late 2005, following a record year of gang homicides, council
agreed to increase the complement to 5,510 strong. There are sometimes
slight fluctuations due to the lag time between when officers retire and
new classes graduate, but the Toronto force is legally required to keep
its numbers within that range.
When asked if he felt the current staffing levels to be sufficient,
Mukherjee said, “We have obviously felt that the numbers that this
council approved were adequate for what we were using police officers
If Ford does decide to hire 100 more police officers — a commitment
he reaffirmed to Jerry Agar on Newstalk 1010 in mid-November — council
would need to agree.
Once finalized, it would be politically difficult to reduce the complement, creating permanent budget pressure....
The officer debate is playing out just weeks before the association
and board enter contentious bargaining talks. During the last round of
bargaining in 2008, the two sides were forced to enlist the help of a
provincial arbitrator for the first time in a decade. This followed nine
months of negotiating, which ended in a deadlock.
The arbitrator controversially awarded officers a 10 per cent raise
by 2010. Critics, including vice-board chair and councillor Pam
McConnell, lamented that cash-strapped Toronto could not afford the