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Cost of policing ‘largest single challenge’ to city budget: Soknacki

Mayoral candidate David Soknacki has a plan he says would save $65 million yearly from the nearly $1-billion Toronto Police Service budget.

At a news conference on Wednesday, the former Scarborough councillor and budget chief called the cost of policing “the largest single challenge for our city’s operating budget.”

“For too long, too many of us have behaved as if rising police budgets are untouchable or unfixable, even though crime rates are falling in most cities,” Soknacki said.

“The result: average increases in the police budget of almost $30 million, while other services struggle for lack of long-term investment.”

Soknacki said changing the service’s shift model — which results in the city paying for 28 hours of work in a 24-hour day — would save at least $25 million a year.

He also promised, as mayor, to sit on the police board.

“If we can fix the overheated police budget, we can afford to invest in other priority services again,” he said.

Soknacki will reveal more details about his plan later this month.