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Public police budget consultations show more than 50 per cent support increase

The Ottawa Police Services Board has recommended a funding freeze for the 2022 budget, saying the OPS should adopt a budget that "assumes a zero per cent increase at its base."
2018-12-12 ottawa police headquartersmv2
Ottawa Police Service headquarters. Mike Vlasveld/ OttawaMatters

In a recent series of community consultations, more than half of the respondents were in favour of an increased budget for the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) in 2022.

The OPS has released its 2022 Budget Consultation Report, which is set to be discussed at the next Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB) meeting on Monday, October 25.

The report includes the results of surveys, consultations, reviews and studies completed to support the development of the 2022 Draft Budget.

"We want to thank everyone who took the time to fill out a survey or send their comments in, speak to our members or attend a focus group," said Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly. "The information in this report has been gathered to assist us all in determining the priorities for the 2022 Draft Budget, how our service needs to change and the future direction of policing in Ottawa."

According to the report, 51 per cent of respondents are in favour of increasing the OPS budget, 16 per cent wanted to see it maintained at its current level and 26 per cent wanted to see it decreased. 

In September 2021, the OPSB recommended a funding freeze for the 2022 budget. It said the OPS should adopt a budget that "assumes a zero per cent increase at its base." 

Consultation respondents also indicated that they want to see increased community engagement from the OPS, especially when it comes to mental health and addiction resources, gun, gang and drug-related criminal violence, violence against women and road and pedestrian safety.

Nearly three in four people who were surveyed would like to see a change in roles and responsibilities for the police service, with 73 per cent in favour of shifting some responsibilities from the OPS to community services, while 22 per cent would prefer that current roles are maintained. 

The report also showed that, since 2018, distrust with the OPS has increased 19 per cent, particularly in racialized communities, and that on-going investment is needed in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) efforts.

"We have heard the calls for change, which includes the need to work more effectively with our community partners on integrated and/or alternative responses to social issues, especially when it comes to mental health and addictions calls," said Chief Sloly. "Moving forward, our 2022 Draft Budget will address these important community and member issues, ensure ongoing investments in equity, diversity and inclusion while addressing the community safety and well-being needs of a growing city."

The 2022 OPS budget will be tabled on Monday, November 3, 2021. 

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