Making Progress Together on Police Reform by the Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Police Service: a One-Year Update
Today, one year after the Toronto Police Service Board unanimously approved 81 recommendations charting a course for wide-ranging changes to be made across the organization, the Toronto Police Service and the Board continue to make progress in implementing comprehensive police reform, in collaboration with the City of Toronto and other community stakeholders.
The issues we are in the process of addressing remain as relevant as ever for the residents of Toronto, including critical dialogue around anti-Black racism, systemic discrimination, policing, accountability, transparency and reform. The changes we are making reflect those important conversations, and the community priorities highlighted from the considerable feedback we have received, and continue to receive, from thousands of Torontonians.
The Board’s 81 recommendations put into place a roadmap for comprehensive policing reform, and include a work plan with short, medium and long-term implementation timelines. By the end of 2021, the Board and the Service are planning to have implemented or addressed more than 80 percent of the 81 recommendations, making notable progress in areas that are meaningfully changing the ways in which we provide policing services to the public, and improving the support we provide to our Members.
"I am proud of the landmark policing reforms approved by the Board last August, which set the Board and the Service on an ambitious reform agenda," said Mayor John Tory, who also serves as a Member of the Police Services Board. "We have made progress implementing the reforms, and I know the Board and the Service are committed to continuing this important work. The rebuilding of trust is very much a work in progress, which goes beyond any specific recommendations, and my commitment to that objective remains very firm."
Board Chair Jim Hart stated that “the implementation of the 81 recommendations is one of the most important pieces of work for our Board, infusing all that we do, and the collaborative, community-focused approach we take. The Board views this work as a beginning; one that proposes immediate action and a commitment to change through ongoing consultation and a reimagining of our current approach to community safety. This process of reform is a journey, and the Board continues to work with the Service, the City and community partners to drive important and evolving change.”
“The Service is committed to being responsive to the needs of our city’s many diverse communities and prioritizing the implementation of all 81 recommendations,” said Chief of Police James Ramer. “Our work continues and I am pleased with the progress we are making, which has been possible because of the dedication and professionalism of our Service members.”
A One-Year Update Video showcases the recommendations that have been implemented to date, while the Police Reform Implementation Dashboard on the TPS website provides more detailed information on our progress.
Among others, notable accomplishments include:
- Expanding the coverage of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, made up of specially trained crisis nurses and police officers, to 14 hours a day. Each division now has a Crisis Support Officer available to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Launching a one-year Crisis Call Diversion Pilot in 14, 51 and 52 Divisions this summer with the Gerstein Crisis Centre. This pilot will ensure that a person in crisis who does not require a police response can be transferred seamlessly to a crisis worker co-located in our 911 Communications Centre.
- Implementing the Service’s Know Your Rights campaign, created with members from the Police and Community Engagement Review, which includes videos that help explain a person’s rights and an officer’s responsibilities during different types of interactions.
- Publishing a line-by-line budget for both 2020 and 2021, and providing increased transparency on spending by the Service in previous years. This and other datasets are being made available to the public in an accessible format.
- Making the ‘Notice of Scheduled Tribunal Hearings and Decisions’ public through the Service’s Disciplinary Hearing Office’s public-facing website.
- Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Toronto Auditor General for the Auditor General to develop and carry out a work plan of independent audits of the Service on behalf of the Board. The Board has also communicated with the provincial government to request that the City of Toronto Act be amended to expand the Auditor General’s legislated authority to include the Toronto Police Service.
In our commitment to increased accountability and transparency, we went further than the 81 recommendations and have proactively moved forward in other areas of police reform.
- The Service’s Gun and Gang Strategy is more robust than ever. The Centralized Shooting Response Teams routinely liaise with other units in the Service, and work collaboratively with our partners at the City of Toronto in its community safety planning.
- Public Safety Response Teams conduct bail compliance checks to ensure those charged with gun-related offences are abiding by their court-imposed restrictions and they provide referrals to community support services in order to break the cycle of gang violence.
- TPS officers on the frontline are now equipped with body-worn cameras, providing an unbiased, independent account of police and community interactions. This technology is an investment in the Service’s commitment to delivering accountable and transparent policing services.
- Reforming the Service’s strip search procedures is ensuring that all strip searches are justified and monitored appropriately, which the Office of Independent Police Review Director (OIRPD) referred to as a ‘best in class’ model.
Whether it’s the Anti-Racism Advisory Panel, the Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Panel, the Missing and Missed Persons Implementation Team, or our many Community Consultative Committees, the Toronto Police Service’s reform journey benefits from the guidance and support of our city partners and communities.
Although there is more work to be done, we will continue to do what is necessary to showcase our commitment to transparency and accountability, and to strengthening trust with all of Toronto’s many communities.
Contact: Sandy Murray
Toronto Police Services Board
Manager, Media Relations
Toronto Police Service