High-profile cases putting pressure on Toronto police budget
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 9:31AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 16, 2018 3:02PM EDT
A number of high-profile homicide cases appear to be taking a toll on the Toronto Police Service’s budget.
A budgetary report, which will be presented to the Toronto Police Services Board on Thursday, suggests that reduced staffing levels and “recent high-profile cases” have been impacting the police service’s close to $1-billlion budget.
“Currently, the service is projecting a $6.0M cost pressure in uniform premium pay. This pressure is mainly a result of the reduced staffing levels and recent high profile cases,” the report reads.
“The service will endeavour to reduce its premium pay spending to come closer to budget. However, it must be noted that premium pay is subject to the exigencies of policing and the aforementioned pressures as well as continued police presence required at special events will make this difficult to achieve.”
In the report, the police service projected a budget shortfall of $3.8 million but Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said they expect to meet the approved budget by the end of the year.
“Expenditures and revenues will continue to be closely monitored throughout the year, and potential mitigating actions identified to assist the service in coming in on budget by year end,” the report read.
The specific cases that have been eating up police resources were not identified in the document but Gray confirmed that the murders of billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman and the Bruce McArthur case are among them.
In the McArthur investigation, police have searched dozens of properties around the Toronto area since McArthur’s arrest in January. Investigators say they still have upwards of 100 properties left to pore over.
Forensic investigators officially turned McArthur’s Thorncliffe Park Drive apartment back over to the property manager on Tuesday after four months of examination.
Police said more than 18,000 photographs were taken at McArthur’s apartment and more than 1,800 exhibits were seized from the scene.
Police have called it the largest forensic examination in Toronto police history.
Shelley Carroll, former city councillor and chair of the budget committee for the Toronto Police Services board, said the report was written prior to another major, resource-heavy criminal investigation in the city.
"The tragedy of the van attack wasn’t even an event when this report was written," Carroll said.
She applauded the author of the report, Police Chief Mark Saunders, calling it "prudent accounting."
“We’ve got a very tight budget," Carroll said. "When you are budgeting that tightly then you want to know all through the year if there is a pressure coming out of nowhere... so it is really good planning on Chief Saunders' part."