Macdonald-Laurier Institute author Christian Leuprecht spoke to the Globe and Mail for two separate stories on the cost of policing in Toronto following the ouster of police chief Bill Blair.
Columnist Marcus Gee writes that the Toronto police board’s decision not to renew Blair’s contract when it expires creates an opportunity to arrest the ballooning cost of policing in Canada’s largest city.
He believes that Leuprecht’s MLI paper, which offers several recommendations for how police boards can cut costs, offers some interesting ideas for Toronto.
This includes his proposal for transferring a lot of the duties police officers perform – lifting fingerprints, for example, or collecting DNA evidence – to less expensive, non-sworn members such as special constables.
Reporter Shannon Kari, meanwhile, points out that 90 per cent of the Toronto Police Service’s $1.08-billion gross operating budget goes to salaries, benefits and overtime to employees.
The cost of policing also continues to rise even as crime rates remain steady in Toronto, the story says – echoing Leuprecht’s finding for police services across the country.
It is up to Toronto city council to “step up and say, Sorry there is no more money”, Leuprecht told the paper.
“We have oodles of evidence that the complement of police and the crime rate do not correlate”, he says. “So much of what police do now is deal with mental health issues. We have securitized matters that are public health matters”.
Leuprecht, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Economics at the Royal Military College of Canada and the Department of Political Studies and the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University, also wrote about the subject of rising cost of policing in the Public Sector Digest.
Recently he has also discussed the political situation in Ukraine and the fallout from the downed Malaysian airliner, flight MH17, with several media outlets.