Toronto police plan to reduce officers on public transit

17 March 2023 / by Daniel Centeno

Toronto Police Services (TPS) announced this week that it is modifying its deployment of officers in the city’s public transit system (TTC). 

The 80 officers deployed in an overtime capacity will be scaled back, with some uniformed officers still patrolling the subways for the time being. 

To respond to the increasing violent attacks in late January, Toronto Police had the 80 officers be visible at various subway stops around entrances and on the platforms.  

A Toronto Police Service press release reads that the scaling back is temporary and that the initial deployment was a necessary measure to respond to the concerns of residents. 

“TPS will now return to primarily deploying on-duty officers in the transit system and incorporating those proactive patrols within regular operational work,” the release reads.  “TPS, in collaboration with the City of Toronto and the TTC, responsible for safety on transit, will continue to assess public safety needs on an ongoing basis. Additional support with police callback shifts will resume if deemed necessary.”

Additional officers were a response to the TTC’s request to address the concerns of citizens regarding the spike in violence. 

Recent data from the city states that there was a 46 per cent increase in violence on public transit this year compared to early 2022. 

The initial cost for overtime officers was about $1.7 million per month, the press release reads. 

Their deployment came at a time when the new 2023 police budget was announced, which was set at over 1.6 billion – a $48 million increase from last year. 

Police Chief Myron Demkiw announced the need for the increased police funding during a budget meeting in January, comparing Toronto’s police budget to other major North American cities. 

With the removal of the overtime officers, Toronto Police announced that there will be an increase in 50 temporary security guards, Community Safety Ambassadors and Street to Homes (S2H) outreach workers at each subway station. 

According to the press release, Toronto police made more than 300 arrests, including responding to unprovoked attacks on TTC streetcars. 

More details to come. 

Listen to CJRU’s coverage of the Toronto Police scaling back its officers on transit: