A non-confidence vote held by the police union shows 86 per cent of officers do not have confidence in Chief Mark Saunders’ leadership.
The vote was held after months of protest coming from the association against cost-cutting changes within Toronto police which included a pause on hiring and promotions. According to Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack, 86 per cent of those who voted in the survey said they had no confidence in Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders. 7,300 association members were polled, which included uniform cops and civilians.
The police union has experienced low levels of hiring, and being short-staffed has resulted in longer wait times when calling the police and has complained about what it describes as personnel cuts to the police force, which demands an annual budget of over $1 billion. Staffing shortages have resulted in some people waiting for hours for police to respond to emergency calls.
Toronto Mayor John Tory responded to the online vote with this statement:
“I have complete confidence in Chief Mark Saunders. Toronto is the safest city in North America thanks to the hard work of the members of the Toronto Police Service. I remain committed to the plan to modernize the Toronto Police Service and know the Chief is dedicated to addressing the concerns which always arise when significant change takes place. Toronto police are in the process of hiring more than 80 new officers and a “significant” number of 911 operators.”
The last time the union took a similar vote was in 2002 against former chief Julian Fantino, which concluded with heavier results. Almost 90 per cent of the 5,000 officers who voted said they had no confidence in Fantino, though the union president at the time Craig Bromell did not call for his resignation.