The Association of Municipalities of Ontario will try tackling the escalating cost of police services.AMO announced earlier this month it’s striking a task force on “police modernization” to inform a provincial study by a future of policing advisory committee.
The committee’s work seems to involve a wide examination of police services in Ontario, but AMO’s interest, no doubt, is keeping costs down.
This will resonate in Ottawa where police board chairman Eli El-Chantiry and Mayor Jim Watson have called for changes to the province’s arbitration system.
Salaries are the biggest cost driver, but there are issues beyond arbitrated contracts fuelling increased police costs.
There have been some interesting developments recently in Ottawa with the police force finding ways to save money.
Crime reporter Danielle Bell wrote about the future of community police centres and managers debating if the offices are still worth the resources.
Starting last Tuesday the police force cut back on the hours of its front desk at Elgin St. headquarters. Instead of being available 24/7, the desk now opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. each day.
There has also been some discussion about how police deploy resources to manage traffic as part of the force’s ongoing service review.
We might learn more about big changes in the police force as the year goes on. The service review is expected to bring efficiencies starting in 2015. The force needs to find $1 million in savings annually between 2015 and 2017 to meet its financial forecasts. Still, the police budget is projected to increase by $10 million in 2015, taking into account a 2.5% tax hike.