Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 95, March 21, 2016.

March 21st 2016

1. The six page police budget for 2016
2. Transformational Task Force established
3. Police Service Act consultations
4. More police shootings in Toronto
5. Waiting for the regulations on carding

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 95, March 21, 2016.

This Bulletin is published by the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition (TPAC), a group of individuals and organizations in Toronto interested in police policies and procedures, and in making police more accountable to the community they are committed to serving. Our website is http://www.tpac.ca
In this issue:
1. The six page police budget for 2016
2. Transformational Task Force established
3. Police Service Act consultations
4. More police shootings in Toronto
5. Waiting for the regulations on carding
6. Subscribe to the Bulletin
1. The six page police budget for 2016

In the last Bulletin we reported on what we then knew of an operating budget for the Toronto Police Service for 2016. A Freedom of Information Request had turned up the extraordinary information that no detailed budget had been produced since the Board had not asked for one. Mayor Tory said in fact there was a detailed budget, as did Board chair Andy Pringle.

Trusting the mayor and the chair, we appealed the staff response to our FOI request. Staff then sent the following information:

In prior years, the Board Budget Sub-Committee was provided with the `Operating Budget Program Breakdown Report that is a compilation of data from various Toronto Police Service Systems. The detailed data for the 2016 Operating Budget exists in those systems; however, to prepare the program breakdown report, which is a 700 plus page document, the information must be pulled from those various systems. The Board Chair requested the Service to take a different approach in presenting the 2016 operating budget to the sub-committee.

The `different approach included the six page budget, an organization chart, three pages showing changes from 2016 to 2015, a listing of grants, and information on the Provincial Court Security and Prisoner Transportation program requested by the citys Budget Sub Committee.

The six page budget has never been posted on the web site of the Toronto Police Services Board, but we have posted it: http://www.tpac.ca/show_issues.cfm?id=199

As you will note, the budget does not give any hint of how much is spent on Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, nor on detectives  nor on anything else. No single division or unit of the police service is held to any expenditure account because no limits are established for any division or unit.

No other branch of the city administration is permitted to operate in such a loosey goosey manner. If you are a small agency wishing to receive funds for the city  say a grant of $10,000  the application form is more than six pages. City Council was aware of the fact that there was no detailed budget for the police service, but not a single member of City Council raised the issue.

Section 31 of The Police Services Act defines the responsibilities of a police service board but says nothing about the Board being responsible for a budget. The Ontario Civilian Police Commission has no power to make a Board act reasonably when it comes to a budget.

There is no legislative manner in which the Board can be held to account on such a simple matter as a budget. The result is that there is no detailed budget explaining how the police service will spend slightly more than $1 billion.

2. Transformational Task Force established

A Transformational Task Force has been established to guide the transformation of policing in Toronto, with a focus on modernizing operations and containing costs. It will examine recommendations related to the long-term reform of how policing is delivered in Toronto and report to the TPSB by June 2016 with a recommended path for implementation. A full implementation plan will be delivered by the end of 2016.

It is co-chaired by Andy Pringle and Chief Mark Saunders, and includes members drawn from across the Toronto Police Service who have not been named (presumable a deputy chief or two and representatives of the Toronto Police Association, and also community members, who are Jeff Griffiths, Former City of Toronto Auditor General, 2002-2014; David Soknacki: Former City Councillor, Chair of the Budget Committee, 2003-2006, President and founder of Ecom Trading Corporation ; Michelle DiEmanuele: President and CEO of Trillium Health Partners with expertise in large-scale change and cultural transformation, former Associate Secretary of Cabinet and deputy Minister in the Ontario Government; Ken Jeffers: Member of the Toronto Police Services Board, former manager of Access & Diversity at the City of Toronto; and
Sevaun Palvetzian: CEO at CivicAction, former Director in the Ontario Government.

As auditor general Jeff Griffiths did several interesting audits of police matters, including how the service addressed sexual assaults. As a candidate for mayor in 2014, David Soknacki said the thought police could save $50 million a year by getting rid of the rule requiring two officers in a car after dark.

No information has been given about how the Task Force will work, whether there is any chance the public can be involved, or what the explicit goals of the Task Force are. Since there is no detailed police budget, it will be very difficult for the Task Force to determine where savings might be made.

TPAC has sent the following letter to the Task Force:

We believe the Task Force should establish its goals early on. We suggest the following goals:

1. Address the culture of policing so that it changes from one of command and control to one of openness and respect. This must be done in ways which ensure the change is recognized by the public in the actions of officers, not just in words.

2. Address the organization of the police service so that resources are more focused on responding to violence, threats of violence, criminal activities, and public disorder.

3. Address equity practices to ensure all people of Toronto are treated with equal respect and service.

4. Address financial issues. We believe the goal should be to secure savings of 5 per cent in Year One ($50 million), and additional savings in each of the next five years.

We also believe that to create any useful reform, a public process is needed involving those who have been pushing for change as well as involving other members of the public. There are various ways in which people can be involved. We think the sooner it happens, the more productive the Task Force will be. 

3. Police Service Act consultations

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has been holding public consultations on amendments to the Police Services Act, in London, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Sault Ste. Marie, Cobourg, Toronto, and Ottawa.

This is accompanied by an on-line survey, see https://www.ontario.ca/page/police-police-services-and-community-safety

The major issues being covered, according to the government are: improving police accountability and governance of police services boards; ensuring police oversight bodies (e.g. Special Investigations Unit, Office of the Independent Police Review Director) work the way theyre supposed to and have clear mandates; improving interactions between the police and people with mental health or addiction issues; clarifying the duties of police officers and modernizing police recruitment and training programs; and creating a framework , working with First Nations, for First Nations policing that is for more sustainable and with consistent service delivery and flexibility to address specific community needs.

The Toronto consultation saw about 30 people in attendance spread among ten tables. The structure and the format of the meeting were not conducive to a thorough discussion of options or approaches, and the survey seems to be limited in the same way.

The TPAC brief to the ministry on the amendments needed to the Police Services Act may be found at http://www.tpac.ca/show_issues.cfm?id=194 .

4. More shootings in Toronto

Toronto police have shot and killed three individuals since February 9, a period of less than six weeks. This comes at a time when police have been spending upwards of $200,000 buying a substantial number of new weapons: the semi-automatic Carbine 8; and the `sock gun which it is hoped will not be lethal but will simply knock you over.

At the same time, the chief reported to the March 17 Board meeting that the number of incidents when Conducted Energy Weapons were used in 2015 was 50 per cent more than in either 2014 or 2013. More than 30 per cent of CEW use was against those in mental distress, and that rises to more than 45 per cent if alcohol and drugs are taken into account.

Each of these trends is unacceptable. But the Board and the service seems not concerned enough to bring a focus which will reduce these numbers. It is time to talk seriously of taking weapons out of the hands of rank and file constables.

5. Waiting for the regulations on carding

The draft regulation on carding was released in November 2015, with comments open until the middle of December (See Bulletin No. 93.) This draft followed public hearings which ended in September.

Here we are, four months after the closing date for public comment, and still no final regulation. Have police associations put on that much pressure that the Ministry is unwilling to act? Why the delay?

6. Subscribe to the Bulletin

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this Bulletin, please send a note to info@tpac.ca with the instructions in the subject line or in the text of the message. Our e-mail list is confidential and will not be made available to others. There is no charge for the Bulletin. Our website is http://www.tpac.ca.
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Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
E-mail: info@tpac.ca