The tension is rising: here is what is happening between Valérie Plante and the SPVM
At a time when Montreal is grappling with an upsurge in gun violence on its territory, the situation seems more tense than ever between Valérie Plante and her police department. We explain to you.
Two shootings, which occurred 30 minutes apart on Tuesday, in broad daylight and in crowded places, raised the pressure a notch in the metropolis, and this, particularly between the Plante administration and the Police Department. de la ville de Montréal (SPVM), which believes it lacks resources, in a context where violent events involving firearms follow one another.
“Our police officers are very dissatisfied with the support shown, whether in terms of staff or equipment. Everything is always complicated. It’s been a while since I’ve been president and there’s never been so much resentment towards an administration, » declared the president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood (FPPM), Yves Francoeur, on the airwaves of 98.5FM shortly after the shootings.
The Montreal police union denounces in particular a reduction in its workforce, while the mayor had undertaken to increase them during the last election campaign.
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Last November, Valérie Plante pledged to hire 250 additional police officers to fill the ranks of the SVPM. But in a letter sent to the office of the mayor on Monday, the FPPM affirms that its manpower has rather gone from 4410 to 4338 in ten months, that is to say 72 police officers less than when Ms. Plante made her commitment.
Yves Francoeur also denounces the pressure that certain neighborhood stations have faced in recent months. Several police officers who worked in these positions were reportedly assigned to new units created by the Plante administration, in particular to combat gun violence.
Because of these staff shifts, these neighborhood stations would struggle to deploy enough patrollers to the field, reducing police visibility and forcing the remaining employees to work mandatory overtime.
For her part, Valérie Plante refutes the accusations and affirms that 229 police officers have been hired since November 2021.
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The provincial government gets involved
Although the funding of the SPVM is mainly the responsibility of the mayor of Montreal, all levels of government inject money to fight against gun violence.
The federal government sends money to the provincial, which sends it to the cities. The latter then use it to finance various initiatives, or to finance their police service.
According to TVA Nouvelles, the Legault government suspects the City of Montreal of having used additional funds intended for the fight against crime to reduce its own expenses in the SPVM.
For this reason, the CAQ government intends to impose conditions before granting more money to Montreal to fight against violence.
Valérie Plante’s office denies having used the money sent by Quebec for purposes other than those intended and indicates that the SPVM’s budget is increased each year, which is confirmed by the City’s financial report.
Montreal spent $745 million on its police department in 2021, while the total was $708 million in 2020 and $680 million in 2019.
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