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Ontario unveils new measures to increase police officers in province, strengthen bail system

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: The Ontario government has recently announced a few measures aimed at reducing crime and improving enforcement.

On Tuesday, April 25th, Premier Doug Ford and Solicitor General Michael Kerzner announced the province will be eliminating tuition fees for the Basic Constable Training program at the Ontario Police College as well as expanding the number of people who can take part in the program.

“To get more boots on the ground, the Basic Constable Training program at the Ontario Police College will be expanded immediately to accommodate an additional 70 recruits per cohort, from 480 to 550. Starting in 2024, the Basic Constable Training program will also be expanded to four cohorts per year instead of three,” an Ontario government press release explained.

The Ontario officials also announced the province will be introducing legislation to remove the post-secondary education requirement for becoming a police officer.

Mr. Kerzner stressed “a safe Ontario is a strong Ontario.” Premier Ford talked about the importance of adding to the province’s police force.

“It’s no secret that across Canada, we’re facing a growing wave of crime. When I speak to every other Premier in every single province and territory, they are saying the same thing. In our big and medium-sized cities, [and] small and rural communities, we’re seeing increases in auto thefts, assaults, break and enters and random acts of violence on public transit and on our streets.”

Two days later, on Thursday, April 27th, Premier Ford announced the province is investing $112 million towards strengthening the provincial bail system. A press release explained this funding will be used to “support new technology, establish violent crime bail teams, expand the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement Squad and provide prosecutors with the resources they need to conduct complex bail hearings.”

“We urgently need bail reform. We’re seeing too many innocent people lose their lives at the hands of dangerous criminals and repeat offenders, who should have been behind bars,” Premier Ford said.

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