London shouldn’t “Defund The Police,” — they should be given additional funding

LONDON ONTARIO — The London Police Services has the fewest police officers per capita in Southwestern Ontario according to a recent article from the London Free Press.

So why “Defund The Police?” — It’s just not plausible — especially for London.

Defunding “dangerous,” ex-cop union chief warns

In a warning via social media to London city council, Dan Axford, a former London police union chief said the following;

“The defund movement wants police budgets reduced and that money used to deal with other social issues. Reducing police budgets is dangerous,” he said.

In recent weeks, calls to ‘defund the police’ have resurfaced after around 12 activists urged city council to reallocate taxpayer dollars to community services at a public meeting on the 2021 budget.

Calls to ‘defund’ or reduce police budgets are “based on unverified ideology and frankly would never achieve the things that the movement is seeking.”

Axford also noted in his social media post that calls to ‘defund’ or reduce police budgets are “based on unverified ideology and frankly would never achieve the things that the movement is seeking.”

London Police Service Stats

According to Statistics Canada, London police had 590 officers serving 414,959 people last year, a ratio of 142.2 officers per 100,000 citizens.

While logged calls for the London Police Service is down by 11,361 calls in the last 10 years (118,563 down to 107,198), the amount of time spent on an average call has gone up by 30 minutes from two hours to 2½ hours.

Here are some stats compiled by the London Free Press’ Dale Carruthers;

Police officers per 100,000 citizens in Southwestern Ontario

Chatham-Kent: 155.5
London: 142.2
Sarnia: 146
Stratford: 150
St. Thomas: 175.6
Windsor: 205
Woodstock: 155.9

So the neighbouring town of St. Thomas, Ontario with 38,909 people has 175.6 officers per 100,000 population? That equals to roughly 73 police officers while London has a measly 590 for all of 414,959 people. Does it make sense for a town with not even a tenth of the population of London to have a higher capita of police officers per 100,000 citizens?

Why would you want to defund that police force?

This Especially doesn’t make sense considering that they run at an exceptionally low cost per capita.

According to a Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada report from 2018, London has the second lowest cost per capita to run a police force among 16 municipal governments.

London police could be in some serious trouble — with an already low number of police officers per capita — according to Statistics Canada, seven per cent of their force is eligible for retirement (41/590 of their current staff).

In 2019, London police hired 19 police officers and there were 26 “departures” within their force — a loss of seven officers in 2019 — not substantial, but worth noting.

Minneapolis ‘defunds the police.’

Recently, Minneapolis “defunded” their police. Their city council voted to approve its 2021 budget — taking $7.7 million away from the police to fund initiatives intended to prevent crime. Programs like violence prevention, mental health crisis teams, training dispatchers to access mental health calls and having non-uniform employees handle theft and property damage reports.

The good news for them — an initial proposal to limit force numbers to 750 has been shelved, allowing them to hire more officers down the line. This is a good thing considering they have experienced a spike in violent crime.

  • More than 532 shootings this year — double that from 2019.
  • 375 carjackings — up 331 per cent.
  • 5,100 violent crimes recorded — up 1,100, from 4,000 last year.
Canadian crime March to August

In a study from Stats Canada, police services reported a decline in almost all types of crime from March to April 2020 — when “non essential” businesses were closed and many Canadians were staying home.

As businesses began to reopen, crime increased from April to May by three per cent, 11 per cent from May to June and June to July by 12 per cent.

Calls for service were up during the months of March to August — compared to the same time last year.

According to Stats Canada, police services responded to 8 per cent more calls for service from March to August — compared to the same time last year.

Most notably — and also concerningly — police responded to more calls related for general well-being checks (+12 per cent), domestic disturbances (+10 per cent), and mental health-related calls (a person in emotional crisis or apprehensions under the Mental Health Act (+10 per cent).

In three police services, calls to check on the welfare of a child (separate from domestic disturbances) were up 17 per cent overall across the three police services.

There has never been a more important time to have more officers.

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