More than a year after calls to withdraw funds to the police echoed across the city and across North America, the Toronto Police Service is requesting a budget increase of nearly $ 25 million by 2022, raising the total cost of surveillance at $ 1.1 billion.

In a budget request released Tuesday, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said the 2.3 percent increase over the 2021 budget was largely due to collective bargaining obligations. According to a collapse Of the requested budget, salaries and benefits for the 7,400 employees of the force represent 88 percent of the requested operating budget, including “premium payments” or compensation for overtime.

In a report to the Toronto police board before a budget meeting next week, Ramer called the request “a modest investment,” saying it was necessary to maintain police services in a growing city that has seen a high rate. of armed violence and 20 percent. percent increase in homicides last year.

The service would still make investments in “key priorities” in 2022 by reallocating existing resources, Ramer said. That includes increasing the number of neighborhood community officers, increasing resources for the hate crime unit after a 50% increase in cases in 2020, and creating a dedicated team to provide “a targeted response” to crime trends. emerging markets, including a recent spike in auto thefts.

Toronto’s civil police board, which includes Mayor John Tory, will consider Ramer’s request at a special budget meeting next week. If approved by the board, the proposed application will go to city hall, where the cost of surveillance has for years been the largest expense in the city.

In 2020, following protests across the continent by police and race and widespread calls to defund the police, Couns. Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam filed a motion to cut the 2021 police budget by at least 10 percent. The measure was rejected by the council, which went on to approve the force’s budget of $ 1.076 billion.

Ramer’s report noted that the force requested a 0 percent budget increase in three of the past five years and found savings in a staff reduction of 400 employees since 2010.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a University of Toronto criminologist who investigates police and race, told Star Tuesday that a request to increase the police budget must be accompanied by more public disclosure about how it will be spent.

That would include detailed accounting of how an officer spends his time, he said, and would allow for a more informed public debate.

“How do the police spend our money and what do the officers do with their time?” Owusu-Bempah said. “The public deserves at least that.”

The Toronto Police Board will meet to discuss the budget request on January 10.

Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and police for The Star. Contact her by email at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis

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