According to news release, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) is “modifying its approach to deployment of police officers in the city’s transit system.”
Beginning today, March 13, TPS is scaling back the use of additional officers staffed by “callback shifts,” which, according to TPS, were used “to support the TTC in partnership with the City of Toronto and its agencies, including SafeTO.
Back in January, TPS added extra patrols on the TTC following a spike in violent incidents on public transit and at stations in response to “concerns of customers and transit employees who said they were feeling unsafe in the wake of some high profile incidents.”
Over the past few months, according to the statement, TPS officers “engaged with the TTC ridership daily and supported the City and TTC by directly providing more than 220 referrals to individuals needing help in accessing social assistance supports including shelter, food, and mental health services.”
Officers also made more than 314 arrests, including an arrest and firearm seizure at Pioneer Village subway station, the arrest of one person following an unprovoked attack on the Spadina street car, and two assault with a weapon incidents. All charges were announced by TPS.
“Toronto Police will be visible in the transit system and officers will continue to patrol the TTC and respond to emergencies and calls for service.” said Chief of Police Myron Demkiw.
“Police officers will patrol during the periods that typically generate the most calls for service, where there is a high volume of ridership with times and locations fluctuating based on our intelligence, including the number of calls for police service and information provided by the TTC. We will remain flexible to respond to the concerns of the public and will continuously assess the public safety needs, along with TTC and the City of Toronto.” He added, “Our officers reported being welcomed by a majority of the public they interacted with on transit.”
TPS is back to its regularly scheduled transit appearances, although the release did state that additional support with police callback shifts will resume if “deemed necessary.”
The TTC, for its part, has also added resources to the transit system over the past month, including:
- 50 temporary security guards
- Community Safety Ambassadors
- Street to Homes (S2H) outreach workers in partnership with the City of Toronto, among other supports
“I want to thank Chief Demkiw, Acting Deputy Chief Pogue and the entire Toronto Police Service for their continued support and for ensuring police remain present on the TTC. This partnership is essential to addressing the complex safety and security challenges the TTC has been facing recently,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “In addition to the TPS resources, the TTC has been deploying more staff supervisors, additional special constables, contracted street outreach workers and specially trained security guards into our system over the past few weeks as part of this coordinated, strategic approach to safety and security.”