Toronto police ends extra officer patrols on TTC

The Toronto Police Service says it's ending the deployment of additional officers on the TTC to tackle violence. Michelle Mackey is speaking to riders and advocates about the move.

By Charlene Close and Patricia D'Cunha

Toronto police are ending extra patrols on the TTC, nearly two months after the measure was introduced to help curb violence on the city’s transit system.

As of Monday, police said they will no longer call in officers to do overtime shifts to patrol the TTC.

Toronto police said officers will be visible in the transit system but they’ll already be on-duty and working within their regular hours.

Police patrols were temporarily boosted in late January in response to safety concerns following several high-profile attacks.

“Toronto Police will be visible in the transit system and officers will continue to patrol the TTC and respond to emergencies and calls for service,” Police Chief Myron Demkiw said in a release on Monday.

“Police officers will patrol during the periods that typically generate the most calls for service, where there is a high volume of ridership with times and locations fluctuating based on our intelligence, including the number of calls for police service and information provided by the TTC. We will remain flexible to respond to the concerns of the public and will continuously assess the public safety needs, along with TTC and the City of Toronto.”

Toronto police said officers made 314 arrests during their added patrols.

The TTC also brought in 50 temporary security guards, Community Safety Ambassadors, and Street to Homes (S2H) outreach workers.

Last month, a new report from the TTC showed violence against passengers increased dramatically over the past year.

The report revealed that in 2022, violent incidents were up 46 per cent from 2021 and 60 per cent from 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, when 30 per cent more people were using transit.

At a budget meeting last month, city manager Paul Johnson told councillors that police wouldn’t be able to afford the increased presence past the end of winter unless additional funding was considered.

The current costs of the police enhancement are approximately $1.5 million per month and were covered by the service’s overtime budget, a Toronto police spokesperson said last month.

With files from Meredith Bond and The Canadian Press

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