Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Hiring police officers: the SPVM on track to reach its best year in five years

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The SPVM would be able to add nearly 200 police officers to its ranks by the end of 2024.

  • Pascal Robidas (View profile)Pascal Robidas

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The SPVM would be in the process of adding nearly 60 police officers to its workforce by December 31. If the City's projections prove accurate, this would be the first time in five years that the SPVM would obtain more hires than departures and retirements to conclude its year.

The projections, reportedly calculated by the city's Human Resources Division, are based on the hiring of 236 full-time police officers compiled as of the end of October. Added to this is a cohort of 48 future police officers, who will be sworn in on November 20, from the AEC police diversity recruitment program.

The SPVM, which also plans to welcome other cohorts of recruits in November and December, estimates that it will be able to recruit nearly 330 police officers this year. p>

At this rate, the number of hires for the current year will be higher than the approximately 250 to 270 retirements or resignations that are anticipated.

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Several neighborhood stations on the island of Montreal operate well below the police force they should have due to the lack of staff at SPVM.

2023 : + 60

2024 : +140

NB : Police additions are calculated based on the difference between hires and retirements and resignations

In 2024, the objectives of the SPVM management would be even more ambitious.

A second cohort intended for the SPVM of 108 police officers must be graduate next January.

Added to this are two other groups of 48 conventional police officers in the following months, still from the AEC Police Diversity program, who will complete their gendarmerie training in Nicolet .

The reimbursement of training costs of $10,500 at the National Police Academy of Quebec to each recruit, in exchange for the first five years of service, and the recent signing of the collective agreement would have stimulated the interest of aspiring police officers in the 'ENPQ towards the Montreal metropolis

If the trend continues, the SPVM workforce will have increased from 4,489 police officers, as of January 1, 2023, to almost of 4700, as of December 31, 2024.

According to our municipal political sources, the projected results on hiring at the SPVM are largely the result of financial assistance granted by the Ministry of Public Security, in August 2022, just before the last provincial election campaign in Quebec. /p>

In the wake of waves of armed violence, the Minister of Public Security at the time, Geneviève Guilbault, announced a subsidy of $250 million over five years to the City of Montreal, of which ;essential, i.e. 225 million, was to be used to finance the salaries of 225 police officers, provided that it was an addition to the workforce, and not to make up for departures and retirements.

To ensure that the money was only used to add police officers to the streets of the metropolis, the MSP had refused to advance any amount before the first additional officer was be confirmed on paper.

For its part, the City of Montreal rather requested funds in advance for the SPVM to stimulate its hiring in order to increase its police ranks.

Due to this dispute, the announced agreement was ratified, almost a year later, on July 31.

The impasse which lasted several months was finally resolved, according to our information, after long negotiations between the Deputy Director General for Urban Security, Martin Prud'homme, and the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel , as well as his deputy minister, Marc Croteau.

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Martin Prud'homme, Deputy Director General of Urban Security for the City of Montreal, actively participated in negotiations with the MSP to prepare the way for financial assistance to help the SPVM in its recruitment efforts.

Mayor Plante's trusted man, who was already deputy minister at the Ministry of Public Security, was able to obtain an agreement which ensures the metropolis advances of funds of 45 million annually to finance the hiring of police officers until 2028.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Public Security has called for guarantees to reimburse unused amounts for any police officer on time full which would find itself below the target of 225 additional agents.

Our municipal political sources who had access to the file reported that Mr. Prud'homme would have argued that the SPVM's hiring difficulties were also a responsibility shared with the Ministry of Public Security.

The Quebec Police Academy, which reports to the MSP, had limited capacity to provide the needs of the SPVM with its 650 recruits trained annually for the entire province .

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The training capacity of the Quebec National Police Academy in Nicolet will almost double in 2024, going from 650 recruits to more than 1,100.

In return, the Ministry of Public Security took measures to resolve the situation not only for the SPVM, but for all police forces in Quebec in the taken with waves of retirements in their ranks.

As of January 2024, the annual training capacity of the Quebec National Police Academy will almost double by providing more than 1,100 police recruits to the entire province.

To be able to create space in the classroom, certain measures have been taken. Among other things, correctional services officers in Quebec establishments are no longer trained at the Quebec National Police Academy.

They now have their own school with the inauguration of a new training center at the Leclerc establishment in Laval. The last cohort of correctional officers was promoted last July.

Over the coming years, retirements will accelerate at the SPVM. According to City projections, the number of police officers eligible for retirement is estimated at more than 1,000 within five years.

The metropolis, which receives advances of 45 million, is obliged to maintain its police force beyond 4,714 from January 1, 2025, otherwise it will have to reimburse the money received for each agent who found under this floor.

Article 4 of the document that Radio-Canada was able to consult, relating to the obligations of the City of Montreal , specifies that the metropolis will be required to reimburse $200,000 per agent who is not a net addition to the workforce.

10 police officers below the target of 4714 would mean a check for 2 million to the MSP.

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The Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, wants to guarantee the Montreal population that each dollar of the subsidy granted to the SPVM will be used to add police officers to ensure their safety.

In a written response, the City of Montreal confirmed that the said agreement had been adopted by the municipal council on August 24.

The Ministry of Public Security provides a subsidy to the City of Montreal to increase its police force. If the SPVM does not reach the hiring targets, the City must in fact return the unused amounts at the end of the agreement, wrote Audrey Gauthier, interim section head at the Direction des communications from the City of Montreal.

In a context of budget cuts to the City of Montreal and the SPVM, the current management of the Montreal police is therefore engaged in a marathon to avoid widening its budget deficit, which was 50 million in 2022.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Government subsidies come under the responsibility of the Finance Department of the City of Montreal.

It was the City's corporate communications that responded to our written questions regarding the context of the negotiations and the terms of financial assistance to hire police officers.

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