How to shrink the police budget

Half a dozen potential savings identified in KPMG's review of Toronto police


Key finding Cops are running around like chickens with their heads cut off answering non-emergency calls for service.

About 16 per cent of the approximately 1.9 million calls for service in 2013 were related to parking enforcement complaints. 

About 60 per cent of a frontline officer’s time is spent on non-emergency calls, while overall crime rates have decreased by 23 per cent since 2003 – violent crimes by 16 per cent and homicides by 19 per cent respectively. 

Potential savings in the medium term (one to two years) 220,000 hours per year can be saved by using a more flexible deployment system, consolidating divisions and establishing strategic hubs.

$30 million in salaries and benefits can be saved by outsourcing all parking enforcement functions.


Key finding Sworn officers are doing work that can be performed by civilian members of the force. 

Potential savings in the medium term (one to two years) The Chicago Inspector General’s Office estimated that that city’s police department could save $6.4 million to $16.6 million by replacing armed officers with civilians in 292 non-enforcement positions.

18 per cent of 416-area police forces are using civilians for crime analysis.

39 per cent of 416-area police forces are using civilian volunteers for non-enforcement functions such as police dispatch and laboratory work.

About 30 per cent of the total TPS workforce is made up of civilians, but sworn officers continue to do the overwhelming number of desk jobs at police divisions, where civilians typically make up 1 to 5 per cent of the workforce.

$3-$7 million can be saved at Toronto Police College, where 85 per cent of instructors are sworn officers, through shared labour (using sessional teachers), e-learning and partnering with other colleges. 


Key finding Cops are blowing a wad, about $45 million a year (including a subsidy from the province of some $18 million a year) on court security. 

Potential savings in the medium-term (one to two years) Privatizing some or all court services functions would result in “significant” savings, but no dollar figure is specified since that amount would depend on which services were outsourced. 

20 to 40 per cent savings on salaries alone if court security is privatized, according to the Civic Protection Institute.


Key finding Rapidly evolving tech is not being harnessed to streamline operations.

  • Halton Regional Police use GPS receivers in all cruisers to dispatch the nearest cruiser to calls.
  • Seattle police have real-time mapping of emergency calls to help make deployment decisions.
  • York Regional Police equip all cruisers with dash and rear cameras that can record interactions with the public up to 300 metres away.

Potential savings in the long term (two-plus years) Improved deployment increased transparency reduced costs associated with paperwork.


Key finding Too much of the department’s purchasing of services, materials and equipment is in too few hands. 

$100 million in annual spending is managed by five civilians in the TPS’s Purchasing Support Services. 

Potential savings in the long term (two-plus years) Savings can be made by consolidating purchasing functions with other city agencies.


Key finding TPS needs to reduce its reliance on vehicles and explore other service delivery methods (i.e., deploy more foot


$27.3 million (not including fuel costs) was spent on fleet maintenance in 2014 (37 per cent of that in labour costs). 

Another $5.3 million was spent on replacing vehicles.

Potential savings in the long term (two-plus years) 20 to 30 per cent reductions in vehicle fleet sizes have been achieved by other police forces without negative impacts on performance.

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