Montreal police surpass overtime budget by $85M

Documents obtained by Radio-Canada through the Quebec law respecting access to documents held by public bodies show Montreal police officers filed for $145 million worth of overtime — more than doubling the $60 million budgeted.

$145M spent on overtime while ticketing revenue dwindles

Montreal police deputy director general Bruno Pasquini said police officers aren't given ticketing quotas. (Radio-Canada)

The Montreal police department has blown its overtime budget six years running while at the same time not meeting its revenue targets from ticketing.

Documents obtained by Radio-Canada through access to information legislation show Montreal police officers filed for $145 million worth of overtime between 2006 and 2012 — more than doubling the $60 million budgeted.

With more than 700 student demonstrations last year, Montreal police officers worked more overtime than ever, but last year’s long hours were no exception.

In 2006, the police service surpassed its overtime budget by $9 million.

"$85 million in six years is huge," said Michel Nadeau, the executive director of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations.

Montreal police said they did an exercise in which they allotted overtime that better reflects the needs of each unit.

The results were used in an action plan to better handle, and budget for, overtime.

"We established more precise accountability rules," said SPVM deputy director general, Bruno Pasquini.

Better road safety means fewer tickets

The documents obtained by Radio-Canada also show that Montreal police officers didn’t bring in as much money as predicted for traffic and parking tickets.

Between 2008 and 2012, police officers issued $216.8 million worth of tickets — $91.8 million less than the expected $308.6 million.

"We never ask our police officers to reach quotas," Pasquini said.

Yves Francoeur, the president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood union, said road safety shouldn’t be measured by the sums brought in via ticketing.

Since the 2006 implementation of a traffic squad consisting of 133 officers, Francoeur said, "road safety has very significantly improved, year after year."

The police department said it wants to respect the city’s budget, but not by pressuring its officers to dole out more tickets.