London police say they need at least a dozen new employees, a combination of sworn officers and civilians, to keep up with the increasing demand for their services from a growing city. With their budget request being at $1.5 million this year, council members are concerned with how this could effect dealing with other problems in the city.
The request came recently as London police have the second lowest number of staff members, according to a report taken on some of Canada’s major cities. London’s incoming council, which includes seven newcomers, will decide whether to approve the request next year.
“It is a tough decision but one has to be made. We can’t turn a blind eye on this issue,” Councillor Phil Squire said last week.
As crime rates grow, so do the number of concerns Londoners have about their safety. Police will need to give specific reasons why they need these new hires and how this will benefit London. Councillor Phil Squire states his worries for the city of London when it comes to acts of crime.
“There has been a significant amount of burglaries. Sometimes, people don’t lock their car doors so it’s easy for others to sneak in and grab some extra change. There have been complaints of local homeowners not feeling safe in their neighborhoods because of ongoing action that’s happening a block over. We have to take this very seriously when we come up with a decision.”
It isn’t a simple outcome that can be determined in a matter of minutes. The $1.5 million would come from London’s assessment growth fund, which assists many other services in the city. Due to the large amount that is being requested, councillors are under a lot of pressure to come up with the best outcome that will benefit the city in the future. Councillor Phil Squire believes it’s important to look at every factor when making a final decision.
“With all the other important services we have here in London, this shouldn’t be taken lightly and I know the rest of the council feels this way too. The city’s assessment growth fund is put into place to support all services. Taking a large amount to put into one service on its own will impact the city budget immensely.”
It will be an interesting challenge for a new council to come up with an end result.