Toronto police get $4.5M in additional funding to tackle gun violence
The Toronto Police Service will be receiving an additional $4.5 million in funding to help tackle gun violence in the city.
The funding was announced in a joint news release issued on Monday by all three levels of government after a couple weeks of increased gun violence in the city.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said that the money will be used to fund “an even more intensive focus on those responsible for inflicting gun violence,” as well as increasing police presence in certain communities.
“I’m very gratified by the fact that all three levels of government have come together at my request in the case of the province and the federal government to support the Toronto police as a first step in combating street gang activity and in making sure that we have a stronger police presence in neighbourhoods where we need to do that to keep people safe,” Tory told CTV News Toronto on Monday.
“That is our paramount objective as three governments and we’ve come together to be able to make those resources available so that those objectives can be accomplished.”
The funding was announced a few days after Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said he will be speaking with all levels of government to help address gun violence. Saunders made the remarks after more than 20 shooting incidents had occurred in the city over a 10-day period.
Over the August long weekend, 17 people were injured in 14 separate shootings.
Saunders also asked members of the public in a “u-shaped area” of the city to report any suspicious activity in their area to authorities immediately.
According to the news release, Saunders will release a plan to use the funding to address the increase of shootings “in the coming days.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement released on Monday that $1.5 million of the province’s $25 million contribution, which will be rolled out over four years, will be used to put “boots on the ground.”
Specifically, the $1.5 million will be used to fund voluntary overtime hours for officers in key areas of the city, according to the Solicitor General’s Office.
“Our government is doing everything in its power to fight the recent episodes of gun and gang violence and protect law-abiding citizens,” Ford said in the statement. “I’m proud we’re taking the necessary steps today to give our men and women in uniform the extra boost they need to go after these violent criminals.”
“They have our backs and we will always have theirs.”
Ford also said that the government will be launching a provincial strategy that will “dismantle gangs once and for all and ensure criminals who commit offences using firearms end up where they belong – behind bars.”
Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair said in a statement that the federal government has been in talks with Tory and Saunders over the last week and is committed to being “an effective partner” in reducing gun violence in Toronto..
“We will continue to support prevention, gang exit and enforcement initiatives, while addressing social and economic issues like housing and employment to create opportunities for young Canadians. Today’s funding contribution will provide needed supports to help the City of Toronto and Toronto police prevent further gun violence, to help keep every corner of the city safe,” Blair said.