Neighbourhood Policing, Mental Health Response Strategy, addressing Violence Against Women investments included in Draft 2021 Budget

Posted On Wednesday November 04, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 4, 2020   8:40am 

(Ottawa) – The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) tabled its 2021 Draft Operating and Capital Budget with the Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB) at a special meeting of the OPSB this morning. 

“Our members proudly serve the residents of this city and we have heard the calls for change. This budget responds to those calls. We are listening and learning and we have produced a budget designed to move policing forward while continuing to provide the services our residents need now and in the future,” said Chief Peter Sloly.  

The 2021 Draft Budget is focused on ensuring that our community can see and experience its return on investment in policing including improved public safety, social change and community building. 

“The Ottawa Police Service Board has spoken openly about the need to bring meaningful change to the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) and I believe the 2021 Draft Operating and Capital Budget shows a commitment to that work” said Coun. Diane Deans, Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board. “The budget was developed to answer the calls of the community and deliver the Board’s Strategic Priorities for OPS. It includes investments in Neighbourhood Policing, Mental Health Services, Outreach Recruiting and Hiring, Addressing Violence Against Women, Training and Development, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Member Health & Wellness and by advancing our work in these areas we will ultimately grow a Service that best reflects the needs our of City.” 

Draft 2021 Budget highlights: 

Mental Health Response Strategy: Through consultation and partnership with the community, the OPS will develop and implement a multi-year strategy focused on better coordination and access to community health mental health services, as well as improving our overall response to calls for service where mental health is an issue. This includes increasing training for all members, improving our initial response, building networks with community partners to ensure people get the appropriate help they need, and introducing and increasing mental health professional capacity on-site and in the 911 communications centre. We will work with community partners to develop this model and increase mental health training for all communication centre staff. 

Neighbourhood Resource Teams: We will continue to make investments in our community policing model to reach across the City of Ottawa. Additional Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRT) will be deployed in suburban neighbourhoods, and an investment in Community Policing Officers. Six NRTs currently exist in our urban areas. The 2021 Budget will include 20 new permanent officers for NRT’s and five Community Police Officers. It will allow our service to continue to build better community partnerships and work with local residents to focus on solving crime and social disorder at a neighbourhood level. 

Training/Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: There will be an increased focus on organizational training and the roll out the EDI training tool kit that will focus on Mental Health, Intersectionality and Anti-Indigenous / Anti-Black Racism. By enhancing the awareness of all members we will promote trust in policing and further develop an internal culture that actively promotes equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Violence Against Women: Five new investigators will be added our Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section and our Partner Assault Section. Two of these positions will be focused on improving coordination of violence against women services and initiatives with our community partners and a special focus on serving our Indigenous community.  

Increased Member supports: There will be a significant investment in our Wellness Section including four new positions focused on improving the overall health and wellness of our members. We have also developed a third party process for all types of harassment including sexual harassment. 

Budget Financial Highlights 

The projected net operating budget for the OPS will be $332.5 million on a gross operating budget of $376.4 million with a police tax rate increase of 3%.

This is a net incremental operating budget increase of $13.2 million over 2020. With the assessment growth assumption of 1.5%, the budget results in a net increase to the police tax bill rate of $19 per year for the average household. 

Efficiencies 

The Budget also identifies $2.7 million efficiencies and savings through internal administrative service improvements and realignments as well as the Back Office Integration Initiative. That Initiative is working to share City of Ottawa administrative services as well as leveraging shared technologies. Since 2012, OPS has generated $20M in efficiencies, which represent 6% of the 2021 Net Operating Budget. 

Have your say… 

The Ottawa Police Service wants to hear from residents and businesses about their thoughts on the 2021 Budget.

Public delegations and questions from Ottawa City Councillors are welcome at the November 9, 2020, Finance and Audit Committee meeting starting at 1:00 p.m. via Zoom at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86403224622

Comments will also be welcome at the beginning of the regular meeting of the OPSB on November 23, 2020, that will start at 2:00 p.m. (via Zoom - link to be announced by OPSB). 

The Ottawa Police 2021 Budget is scheduled for approval by the Board on November 23, 2020 and by Ottawa City Council on December 9, 2020. 

A complete copy of the Ottawa Police Service 2021 Draft Operating and Capital Budget is available for viewing or downloading from ottawapolice.ca/reports. As well, it can be requested through info@ottawapolice.ca

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