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EXCLUSIVE: Avery Haines speaks with Chief Bill Blair

Avery Haines speaks with Chief Bill Blair. CITYNEWS.

In an exclusive interview with CityNews, Chief Bill Blair says 1,000 officers could be taken off Toronto streets if the police service is forced to meet the mayor’s budget demands.

“They have to come from somewhere,” Blair told Avery Haines.

Part of Rob Ford’s mayoral campaign included a promise to hire more police officers – a goal that appears to be at odds with an order to cut budgets by 10 per cent across all city departments. For police, that means reducing their budget by $83 million.

“I’m not asking for front-line officers to be reduced. I’m asking for the chief to find efficiencies,” Ford told Haines.

But that’s not Blair’s responsibility. Instead, that task falls to the Police Services Board – and City Hall.

“I don’t have the ability to lay people off. I’m not the employer,” Blair said.

“We’ll put the options before the city…I think they have some very difficult choices to make,” he added.