Officials from the London Police Association (LPA) confirmed on Monday that members cast a vote of no confidence last week challenging the leadership of Chief Steve Williams, and that the motion was approved by those present.
In an emailed statement, the LPA said a general membership meeting was held on Dec. 9 during which a no-confidence motion was made on Williams from the floor and voted on.
“The LPS has now informed Chief Williams and the London Police Services Board (LPSB) of the outcome of this vote,” the LPA statement read.
Since then, the union says a motion has been made to its board of directors for the no-trust motion to be voted on by all members at a future date. The union represents hundreds of employees of the London Police Service.
“We look forward to holding this vote and reporting the results.”
Earlier in the day, Williams confirmed that he was aware of the motion that was made and that he has “listened and taken seriously the concerns of all members.”
“I am committed to discussions with the LPA Executive in the coming days and those discussions will inform next steps,” Williams said.
“These are challenging times for everyone, the community and the police. I continue to be incredibly proud of the work that LPS members do every day. We share a common goal, and that is to be well as a team in order to serve the community with excellence. That will continue to be my focus going forward. “
A vote of no confidence is not legally binding, but it does send a message to an organization that a leader no longer has the support of a specific group.
“I think we need to know more details in terms of how this vote came about and we hope it will come out at some point,” said Susan Toth, Acting Chairman of the London Police Services Board.
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“There is nothing at this time that brings anything to the board in terms of leadership from Chief Williams,” he continued.
“I have spoken with each of the members of the police services board, and they have all reiterated the same thing, that he has been an exceptional leader during a very difficult time and we look forward to working with him and seeing what this year brings. “
Toth added that it was important to take into account the pressure that first responders have been under with the increase in calls for service. Over the past year, Williams has been “exceptional in terms of defending his officers,” he said.
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The LPA said in its statement that its members were overworked and understaffed, adding that the consequences of that were not only being felt by union members, but also by the general public.
“The number one priority of our members is the safety of the community they serve. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our members can provide the level of service that Londoners deserve, ”the statement read.
Last month, Williams outlined the current challenges London police face during an LPSB meeting.
Williams stated in a memo that officers spent an additional 33,000 hours between January and October 2021 responding to roughly the same number of calls as in the same period in 2020.
Code 1 calls related to emergencies and life-threatening matters increased by 27 percent for that 2021 period compared to 2020, while Code 2 calls, non-emergency calls that are urgent in nature, increased by 96 percent.
“In the month of September 2021 alone, there was a 226% increase in Code 2 response time compared to September 2020,” the memo read.
To cope with the crisis, several officers would be relocated to the front lines. They included at least eight school resource officers, eight officers from “other operational areas” and 11 officers from the Community Oriented Response Unit.
Police, Williams said, would review how it handled calls for service, adding that more staff was needed along with increased funding for the city’s annual multi-year budget update for 2023.
– with files from Andrew Graham
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