Police boards want chiefs to have freedom to suspend without pay: survey

A new survey suggests Ontario's police governing agencies want the province to grant police chiefs the authority to suspend officers accused of serious misconduct without pay.

More than 100 police boards responded to a survey by the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, which aimed to identify priorities as the provincial government revisits the Police Services Act for the first time in more than 25 years.

Modernizing labour relations practices was one of five areas named, as well as strengthening police board governance, allowing police to delegate some duties to civilians, mandating co-operation with other agencies and improving third-party oversight of police.

Aside from giving chiefs more freedom to suspend officers _ which received unanimous support _ the participants felt strongly that police boards should be able to lay off staff, including police.

They also felt strongly that the province should clarify which police functions must be performed by an officer and which could be outsourced to civilians.

The current Police Services Act was passed into law in 1990, and the province has committed to reopening the legislation in order to bring it in line with modern practices.