The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will continue to police the Town of Hawkesbury for another three years, but changes have been made and more are on the way.
The cost of the new contract is $2,942,797 for 2023. In 2022, $2,985,948 had been allocated in the budget for policing costs.
Council approved the new contract on January 12. Unlike past policing contracts, it does not include the enhanced service which provided an additional administrative support clerk to perform extra duties, such as processing criminal record check applications.
In October 2022, council decided it instead wanted the basic service offered under Section 10 of the Police Services Act, rather than an enhanced contract, which costs an additional $45,548.
Mayor Robert Lefebvre, who has also served as Police Services Board Chair for the past four years, said staff recommended discontinuing the enhanced service in 2018 because there was doubt the town was receiving the full benefits of the additional administrative support, but council decided to retain it.
“There was really no value,” remarked Lefebvre.
He said services such as criminal record check applications are faster now and can be accessed online. The additional staff support may have only reduced processing times by one or two days.
According to a staff report about the new OPP contract, changes to the Police Services Act in 2019 mean Section 10 contracts and Police Services Boards will likely be abolished as reforms are implemented.