Toronto police announced yesterday that it is scaling back deployment of its officers in the city’s transit system.
In January, police responded to a request from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to temporarily increase its patrols and presence in the transit system in response to concerns of customers and transit employees who said they were feeling unsafe in the wake of some high profile incidents.
The deployment of additional officers was staffed by callback shifts and meant to be temporary.
During this time, police said officers provided 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.
Police will now return to primarily deploying on-duty officers in the transit system and incorporating those proactive patrols within regular operational work. Deployment remains intelligence-led and the number of officers in the system will vary based on time of day, occurrences and issues identified by the TTC and Toronto police.
“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," Chief of Police Myron Demkiw said. "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.”
As the lead on transit security, the TTC will continue to publicly report on transit safety at its monthly Board meetings. The TTC has also added resources to the transit system over the past month, including 50 temporary security guards, Community Safety Ambassadors and Street to Homes (S2H) outreach workers.