TORONTO, Nov. 2, 2017 /CNW/ - With today's release of the Police Services Act update, Ontario's top policing representatives are warning the public that the Ontario government's legislation opens the door to privatization of core duties normally carried out by police – a troubling move that risks public safety.
Together representing all sworn and civilian members of law enforcement in Ontario, the Police Association of Ontario (PAO), the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) and the Toronto Police Association (TPA) are united in their concerns about the consequences that schemes to reduce uniformed police officers and use private security providers will have on public safety.
Organizations like the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) have lobbied the Ontario government for the ability to privatize policing in Ontario communities. Groups like these are calling for the transfer of specific policing functions to "private security providers," such as crime prevention initiatives, investigative support including forensics, crime scene analysis, and collision reconstruction.
"There is no place for private policing in Ontario, it is nothing more than policing for profit," said Bruce Chapman, President of the Police Association of Ontario. "There is language in this legislation that gives Police Service Boards and municipalities a lot of freedom to allow bids from for-profit corporations as well as not-for-profit organizations."
In a recent poll of 2,000 Ontarians across the province, only 6% of respondents indicated they were in favour of privatizing police services. 92% indicated they felt safe or very safe in their community and wanted to maintain or increase police presence.
"Ontario's police officers are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who serve because they care about their communities and feel a duty to help make Ontario a safer place," said Rob Jamieson, President of the OPPA. "As police services personnel who live, work and raise families in the neighbourhoods we service, we're dedicated to our communities. Can we trust private security providers to have the best interests of Ontario's communities at heart?"
In 2006, Ontario transitioned its only privately run jail back to the public sector after the government found a publicly-managed correctional facility was better for community and public safety. Monte Kwinter, Ontario's Community Safety Minister at the time, stated that "the outcomes were better in the publicly run facilities", including better security, prisoner health outcomes and reduced repeat offender rates. "The results just didn't justify a for-profit facility."
In 2015, Public Safety Canada identified Canada's failure to ensure effective oversight of our private security sector, resulting in an inability to ensure that private security companies are not vulnerable to organized crime or illegal behaviour. They also noted an absence of research that demonstrates any cost savings in outsourcing police services.
"We can't let community policing decisions be made by politicians who focus solely on budget reduction rather than keeping our neighbourhoods safe," said Mike McCormack, President, Toronto Police Association. "This government must do their duty to respect Ontarians' wishes and ensure that strong community policing is here to stay."
About the Police Association of Ontario
The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) is the official voice and representative body for Ontario's front-line police personnel, and provides representation, resource and support for 52 police associations. PAO's membership is comprised of over 18,000 police and civilian members.
About the Ontario Provincial Police Association
Headquartered in Barrie, the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) is the bargaining agent for almost 10,000 civilian and uniform members of the Ontario Provincial Police.
About the Toronto Police Association
The Toronto Police Association (TPA) is the largest, single association of its kind in Canada and one of the most influential police associations in North America. The TPA represents over 8,000 uniform and civilian members.
For further information: Media inquiries:
Police Association of Ontario: For further information: Bruce Chapman, PAO President, Bruce.Chapman@pao.ca, 905-599-4813; Stephen Reid, PAO Executive Director, Stephen.Reid@pao.ca, 416-435-4455;
Ontario Provincial Police Association: For further information: Rob Jamieson, President, OPP Association - Rjamieson@oppa.ca, 705-984-6772;
Toronto Police Association: For further information: 416-491-4301