The Victoria Police Department spends over $1.2 million per year on overtime costs. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria Police Department spends $1.2 million annually on overtime costs

Costs likely to rise with staffing shortages at VicPD

Officers at the Victoria Police Department often work overtime, and in a department with a full staff of 249 officers, that cost adds up.

Through a freedom of information request put forward by the Grumpy Taxpayer$, a local spending watchdog, it was discovered that between 2014 and 2018 the average cost of overtime hours sits around $1.2 million, with the highest spike in 2016 at $1,478,600.

“[That’s] almost four per cent of the total annual budget for salaries,” said Stan Bartlett, chair of the Grumpy Taxpayer$ in an emailed statement. “‘Will the hiring of six additional sworn officers in September decrease the overtime bill, and if so, by how much?”

While the Victoria Police Department was approved for six more officers in an appeal to the Police Services Division, these officers are not likely to make a difference in overtime costs in 2019 since they will be hired and begin training at the Police Academy in September and not graduate until May 2020.

In fact, overtime costs will likely go even higher for 2019 since 41 officers are off either on sick leave, stress leave, injury recovery or parental leave, something which Chief Const. Del Manak said is not the norm.

ALSO READ: ‘Significant changes’ expected in Victoria police services, says VicPD chief

“We’re watching the trend … it’s a combination of everything,” Mank said. “We always are aware of how much money we spend on our overtime line item in our budget.”

Manak said overtime costs are made up of four categories. The first is statutory holiday overtime, something he said was hard to avoid.

“We go down to minimum strength for statutory holidays to try to save as much money as we can, but I have to have police officers working,” Manak said.

The second category is for court overtime, when police officers have to testify in court on their day off.

The third is categorized as “extended tour of duty,” and refers to times when officers come across a new situation, such as an impaired driver or domestic violence call, near the end of their shift.

ALSO READ: ‘I’m falling behind,’ VicPD Chief Del Manak makes cuts to police services

“They need to continue that investigation because you can’t pass it off halfway into it,” Manak explained.

Lastly, and the one most drastically affected by staff shortages, are “call outs,” when front line officers are called to work overtime when minimum staffing requirements aren’t met.

“We are always looking at each of those four areas and seeing if there are any pre-planned overtimes that we can avoid,” Manak said, adding that schedules are continually shifted and efforts are made to minimize overtime in court.

“It’s just a thing about policing— it’s dynamic, it’s complex. It’s not like a widget factory where I can turn the press off on a stat holiday or that I can slow it down and need less people on an assembly line. Policing is one of those things where there’s more demands, more complexity and it’s creating even more pressures for us.”

The Victoria Police Department is currently working with the Victoria Police Board to finalize its 2020 budget proposal.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

VicPD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

Bag containing meat, sewing needles found by dog owner in Cordova Bay

Saanich police don’t believe it’s a trend

UVic creates emergency bursary for students facing hardships due to COVID-19

Students can apply by emailing the financial aid office

Colwood Spring Clean-Up postponed, branch drop-off continues

Strict measures in place for branch drop-off

Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank receives more than $5,000 from local organizations

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read