It’s a bold new direction for Toronto policing.
The Transformational Task Force (TTF) has outlined a new model of policing, laid out in an interim report released on June 16 entitled The Way Forward: Modernizing Community Safety in Toronto.
TTF co-chairs Chief Mark Saunders and Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) Chair Andy Pringle jointly released the interim report prepared by the task force made up of Service members and members of the public.
The report articulates three overarching goals for the Service:
- Be where the public needs the Service the most
- Embrace partnerships to create safer communities
- Focus on the complex needs of a large city
The report contains 24 recommendations, some of which can be implemented right away, while others will be phased in.
Some of the changes include:
- Disbanding TAVIS and the Transit Patrol Units
- Transitioning from mobile workstations in cars to handheld e-notebooks
- Re-thinking Divisional boundaries, starting with the amalgamation of 54 and 55 Divisions and looking into 12, 13, 33, 41, 52 and 53, with an aim to align with other City services and neighbourhood boundaries
- Looking for alternative service delivery for Court Services and Parking Enforcement
- Moving crossing guard and lifeguard programs to appropriate City departments
- Using traffic cameras to change driver behaviour and create safer streets
So far, the Task Force has identified $100 million in reductions and savings to the Service’s operating budget over the next three years. This figure includes $60 million over the next three years, beginning in 2017, as a result of a carefully managed moratorium on hiring and promotion between ranks for officers and civilians. This is to ensure that the Service has the right type and number of members for the new service-delivery model and the leanest possible management structure.
The proposed reduction also includes $30 million in identified savings through alternative service delivery or shared services over the next three years, plus a commitment to a further $10 million in savings over the same period. Additionally, the buildings and land to be returned to the City of Toronto have a potential value of up to $72 million.
A recommended 9-1-1 cost recovery fee, in place in eight other provinces, could be used to fuel investments in 9-1-1 technology, allowing text messages, photos and videos to be collected
The report focuses also on ensuring officers are deployed where they are needed most. The public will be given enhanced options to report non-emergency situations, over the phone or online, by appointment at a police station and by employing civilians to follow up on non-emergency reports.
The report also recommends enhanced training and support for Service members to allow them to competently and confidently meet the new expectations of them.