In the face of growing calls to defund the police, Toronto Mayor John Tory is recommending that city council develop “alternative models of community safety response.”
The motion, recommends creating a non-police led response to calls which do not involve weapons or violence, specifically calls which involve individuals experiencing mental health crises.
Tory’s motion makes it clear that the result will likely be a reduction of the police budgets as duties are transferred to non-police agencies. He told reporters today that he also thinks municipal councils should have more say in specific items in the police budgets.
“In recent weeks, here in Toronto and around the world, people have been raising their voices and calling for an end to racism generally, to anti-Black racism and to racism experienced by Indigenous and marginalized communities,” Tory said today. “As mayor, I acknowledge that despite our city being one of the world’s most diverse, systemic racism continues to be a real issue here in Toronto and there is much more all of us can do and must do to confront it and to eliminate it.”
The move comes as calls to “de-fund” policing have echoed across North America in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and other police-involved deaths in the US. In Toronto and the GTA there have been two police -involved deaths od persons experiencing a mental health crisis in the last month.