Toronto police to expand neighbourhood officer program

Toronto police say they hope an expansion to an existing community policing program will address a spike in fatal shootings.

Deputy Chief Peter Yuen says the expansion will roll out in phases over the course of a year and will more than double the number of community officers on city streets.

Police say that through the program, officers will conduct regular patrols of the community and engage in ``intelligence-gathering.''

Yuen says in total, about 120 officers will be deployed in 27 neighbourhoods and the first phase begins on Monday when 40 officers will be in placed in eight neighbourhoods across the city.

He says more officers will continue to be placed in other Toronto neighbourhoods through October 2019.

He says this boosts the existing neighbourhood policing program that has been running since 2013 and currently has 96 officers in 33 neighbourhoods.

Yuen says members of the community in the newly selected 27 neighbourhoods were consulted over the summer about the program.

He says the expansion isn't a response to the jump in gun violence in the city, but that it will address guns and gangs.