Peel police want 26 new officers on the street in Mississauga and Brampton
Published October 22, 2021 at 1:10 pm
Peel Regional Police (PRP) want more than $22 million in additional funding next year to help pay for dozens of new officers.
According to the PRP’s draft budget, the service is looking for a 4.8 per cent funding increase in 2022 which would bring the total police budget to $484,900,000 next year. The request has to go before Peel Regional councillors for approval.
The draft includes funding for 26 new uniformed officers, $11 million for existing staff salaries and benefits, and $6.7 million for employee wellness programs.
Police are also forecasting a need for more than $59.2 million in capital funding for new police vehicles, facility maintenance and technology systems.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said more funding may look difficult to justify in the time of COVID, but the service says the increases are required to provide the same level of coverage across the region year-over-year.
“None of us take this lightly, but to deliver the same level of programs and services to our communities next year as this year (the cost) is 3.8 per cent just to begin with,” Crombie said at the Peel Police Services Board (PPSB) meeting on Friday.
PRP Chief Nishan Duraiappah said the service has been shifting away from traditional policing to better use its resources in a “post-defund” world, particularly around mental health-related calls.
“There needs to be a meaningful shift to how policing looks to address community needs and wellness,” the chief said, adding PRP has reallocated 183 members to different police divisions in order to connect residents “to the most appropriate services, and not necessarily emergency responders.”
Brampton Councillor Martin Medeiros acknowledged the budget might come with some “sticker shock” for Peel residents, but applauded the service for “looking at policing in a different manner” instead of “throwing bodies” at policing problems.
While the service is looking to increase the number of uniformed officers, the 2022 budget would see a loss of 6 civilian support staff. Compared to police services in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton, Peel has the lowest ratio of officers per person.
“At some point we’re going to be challenged to catch up,” PPSB Chair Ahmad Attia said.
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