Letter: Municipalities pay only their share for policing

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Municipalities pay only their share for policing

I want to provide clarification and additional details on your June 30, 2020 article, Police boards respond to officer shortage, questioning the Ontario Provincial Police’s (OPP) billing practices.

The statement, “The OPP is pocketing money from municipalities but not delivering services,” is absolutely false, as are all other statements in the article that imply the OPP is over-billing municipalities. The OPP adheres to Police Services Act, Ontario Regulation 267/14 for billing municipalities and cost recovery is based on actual staffing at detachments. To be clear, the OPP does not bill municipalities for vacant detachment positions.

OPP municipal policing costs are calculated using the actual staffing count of members working in detachments providing municipal policing services. Excluded from the staffing count are vacancies, employees in provincial positions or on certain leaves and temporary assignments. A four-year rolling average of staffing is used to eliminate the need to reconcile numbers and reduce billing volatility for municipalities. As the OPP fulfills provincial and municipal obligations from integrated detachments, statistical analysis of activity is used to determine the municipal cost and accurately bill municipalities.

Members from OPP Municipal Policing Bureau have met with Norfolk County representatives and Norfolk County Police Services Board representatives most recently in 2018 and 2019 to provide a fulsome explanation of the OPP billing model.

We recognize and appreciate that municipalities across Canada are concerned about the cost of policing. The OPP is working continuously to be as effective and cost-efficient as possible while offering excellent value for the services it is mandated to deliver to the province and municipalities. The OPP billing model ensures that municipalities only pay for their share of services.

The OPP billing model provides a fair recovery for services and cost stability for OPP policed municipalities. From 2015 to 2020, the average cost for OPP policed municipalities has varied from a low of $350 (2016 and 2017) to a high of $359 (2019) per property. The 2020 average cost of $358 per property compares very favorably to other police services in the province and based on the 2018 OPP Community Satisfaction Survey, 96.3 per cent of respondents were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the overall quality of police service provided by the OPP.

Accurate, fair and informed discussion is essential if we hope to develop long-term solutions to keep policing affordable. Additional information on the OPP billing model is available on the OPP website at opp.ca.

Phil Whitton

Superintendent

Commander

Municipal Policing Bureau

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