Council supports narrow 2.3% Halifax police budget increase, despite public setback – Halifax | The Canadian News

Halifax’s police council held a public hearing on Monday before voting on Halifax Regional Police’s proposal for a 2.3 percent budget increase.

The request amounts to just over $ 2 million for the 2022-2023 budget, and will be used in part to appoint 26 new officers, including two sexual assault constables and two hate crime detectives.

Chief Dan Kinsella told the board that sexual assault reporting has increased and that new appointments are needed for the workload.

Monday’s public hearing, which was virtually held, was first for the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners. Members of the public were able to make submissions before commissioners questioned the principal.

Read more:

‘Big appetite’ for investigating the defundering and unmasking of Halifax police: councilor

The majority of speakers have spoken out against the proposed increase, with some saying it is simply not the time.

Story continues below ad

“In fact, I think we should have a moratorium on police increases until we have our own house in order,” presenter Nancy Hunter said.

Several speakers pointed out that the request for budget increase comes just as the city is investigating the issue of defecating the police. On January 17, a report prepared by a 14-member subcommittee for the police board made 36 recommendations on police practices, surveillance and accountability.

However, the subcommittee said it did not have enough data to recommend a specific amount to be cut from the police budget.

The police board has instructed the committee to conduct its review in 2020, following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., By a police officer. That incident sparked a movement to retaliate against the “police” in the United States, which influenced activists in Canada.

During Monday’s meeting, at least one presenter said that the approval of the budget increase could “deny” the work of the police subcommittee for defining.

“In my opinion, it’s not a good investment,” Kate Macdonald said.

“Literally, people have been shouting that policing is being defunct and here we are having a conversation about a budget increase.”

Click to Play Video: 'Halifax Police Defiance Report Calls for Reform'

Halifax police reimbursement report calls for reform

Report on the Refund of Halifax Police’s Calls for Reform – January 17, 2022

Among its recommendations, the report called for “detasking”, which would remove certain functions from the police, such as responding to mental health calls. Those calls would rather be given to teams made up of civilians. It concluded that the current model of mental health crisis intervention in the Halifax Regional Municipality is “outdated and no longer in line with best practices.”

Story continues below ad

Speaking during Monday’s meeting, Tanisha Williams said the need to get rid of was shown on August 18, 2021 when officers forcibly removed residents of a homeless camp in a chaotic scene that led to arrests and a child sprayed with pepper.

“Issues such as (homelessness), overdose, gender-based violence must be assigned to appropriate organizations,” said Williams, who was at the eviction.

The vote at the end of Monday’s meeting, to increase the HRP budget by 2.3 per cent, passed with four councilors voting yes and three voting no.

Those who voted yes were: Yemi Akindoju, Anthony Thomas, Becky Kent and Lisa Blackburn.

Commissioners who voted no were: Lindell Smith, Harry Critchley and Carole McDougall.

However, this vote does not mean that the budget has been approved. Halifax Regional Council’s Budget Committee will have to approve it in a meeting later this month.

– with a file from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Leave a Comment