Durham Police Board Calling for Radical Changes To Police Model

The Durham Regional Police Services Board is asking the province for far-reaching changes to the legislation governing police in Ontario, including allowing more police work to be outsourced to civilians.

“The public expectations of the police, and the society in which they wield their powers, has changed considerably over the past quarter century,” says the board in a letter sent to Yasir Naqvi, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

“Quite simply, it is no longer practical for a fully armed and trained police officer to assume many of the roles that we now ask of them. Many roles could be undertaken by other agencies or by civilians within a police agency.”

The letter, dated Feb. 24 and signed by Durham police board chair Roger Anderson, also suggests the emergence of unarmed public safety officers be explored in Ontario. They are currently deployed in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Sudbury.

And it recommends that police forces hire officers only after they’ve completed an accredited training program, rather than waiting to train them until after they’re hired which “is not entirely rational.”

“There is no compelling reason why policing should be different,” than other professions “from engineers to nurses, to teachers and accountants.”

Read more in The Star.

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