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Toronto Police Services Board approves $1.076B operating budget

The Toronto Police Services Board has approved a $1.076 billion operating budget for 2020. It represents a $40 million or 3.9 per cent increase over the 2019 budget.

About 90 per cent of the operating budget is for officers and staff salaries, and it includes the hiring of 341 additional officers.

Police Chief Mark Saunders says 140 of those new officers will be assigned to the Priority Response Unit as a part of a new shift schedule.

Another 40 officers will be assigned as Neighbourhood Community Officers and eight others will work on a new Vision Zero safety team.

“The addition of theses new officers will help the service enhance community safety and allow us to build towards increasing proactive policing,” said Saunders.

In budget documents, Saunders also said: “It is not sustainable to continue to offset exceptional growth with efficiencies and staffing reductions and also continue to deliver service levels that keep the city safe.”

Mayor John Tory, a member of the Police Services Board, said he believes taxpayers will understand the need for more money, with increasing gun violence in the city.

“The people who pay the bills, I think they are expecting us to make an investment in the community,” said Tory during the meeting. “They have said we have to invest more in neighbourhoods and kids and families and they’re right, but I haven’t heard too many saying we should be investing much less.”

Toronto City Council still has to approve the budget.