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Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says a budget freeze would lead to layoffs. (Canadian Press )

Toronto budget chief Mike Del Grande wants to put a lid on police spending, but Chief Bill Blair says that likely can't be done without affecting staff.

Del Grande spoke to the Toronto Police Services Board on Wednesday, appealing for a freeze to the police budget in the coming year.

He told reporters afterwards that he had previously spoken with the chief about cost containment but not with the chair and other board members.

"I wanted to make sure that they got the message," Del Grande said.

During the meeting, the police chief suggested that approving a zero per cent increase budget would be akin to accepting layoffs within the force.

Blair told reporters that 88 per cent of the police budget is taken up by salary costs, which makes it hard to make reductions while keeping up the force's payroll commitments.

"Because such a significant portion of our budget is salary, that if we were actually to achieve those reductions then it would require reducing personnel," Blair said.

Del Grande says he's asked for an independent review to see how many officers it actually takes to police Toronto.