The Globe & Mail’s Patrick White:
In a move that introduces the unprecedented spectre of police layoffs in Toronto, the city has asked Chief Bill Blair to explore reducing the number of officers under his command by 10 per cent – down to levels not seen since Mel Lastman was in office.
At a Toronto Police Services Board on Monday, Councillor Michael Thompson asked the chief to look at how much money the city could save by dropping 500 uniformed officers and 300 civilian members of the Toronto Police Services, the country’s largest municipal force.
I have to give credit to Councillor Michael Thompson for at least floating the idea of downsizing the Toronto police force, even if it is both a) impossible; and b) politically unpopular. The reality is that if these guys at City Hall really want to get serious about reducing the size and cost of the city’s government, they can’t ignore their single largest budget line.
This won’t happen, of course. If for no other reason than because one of Rob Ford’s campaign promises was to do the opposite of this: to increase the number of officers on the streets. Ford’s platform called for a 0.1 per cent decrease in non-policing city spending to fund “100 additional frontline police officers.”