Police board wants $25K budget boost to support external review of missing persons cases
Review prompted by concerns over force's handling of Bruce McArthur investigation
The city's budget committee is supporting a one-time $25,000 budget increase for the Toronto Police Services Board to pay for an independent external review into the force's handling of missing persons files.
The review follows questions about how police dealt with the disappearances of multiple men from Toronto's gay village amid controversy surrounding the force's investigation into alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur.
- Police bias part of the problem in missing persons cases, advisory panel members say
- Decision to exclude McArthur homicide probe from missing persons review raises questions
The diverse working group, which will be facilitated by Toronto lawyer Breese Davies at an hourly rate of $375, has been set up to provide community input and a cost estimate for the review.
But the Toronto Police Services Board said there are no funds in its approved 2018 budget to support that review, nor the working group leading up to it.
"It's very difficult for us to fund something that has come out of the blue like this," said board chair Andy Pringle.
At its Monday meeting, the city's budget committee voted to support the one-time $25,000 budget boost for the board, using a city reserve fund. That recommendation still needs approval from city council.
The working group Davis is facilitating is expected to report back to the board on a cost estimate for the review at its June meeting. After that time, the board anticipates it will be asking for more city funding.
Review will exclude McArthur case
Before the review itself has even started, the process has already come under fire for excluding the McArthur investigation from any discussions.
- Police Services Board backs motion to launch external review of missing persons investigations
- Crown, defence may consider splitting McArthur case into separate trials
As CBC Toronto reported last month, the board does not want the review to interfere with the ongoing investigation into the homicides that McArthur is accused of committing, or any eventual criminal trial.
McArthur has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearances of a number of men, most of whom are connected to the city's gay village.