TORONTO — The Toronto Police Services Board is set to meet today to decide whether to approve a nearly $50-million funding increase for the city’s police force, which would result in the addition of 200 officers.
The proposal, announced Tuesday by Toronto Mayor John Tory, represents a 4.3 per cent or $48.3-million increase over 2022’s police budget, bringing its total to just over $1.1-billion for 2023.
The new funding would also include an additional $2-million for programming aimed at expanding existing supports for youth and addressing youth violence, following recent violent incidents Tory has called troubling.
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The push for more officer resources is at odds with critics’ calls to defund police in favour of redirecting money to community initiatives that aim to address root causes of violence.
Some advocates argue that increasing police budgets won’t lead to safer cities and call instead for funding boosts to supports such as mental health and housing.
In a written deputation to the meeting, not-for-profit community legal clinic Black Legal Action Centre says it is “extremely concerned” by the proposal, arguing the increase in police officers will negatively impact Black communities and further strain their relationship with Toronto police.
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