Labor shortage: almost impossible to add 450 police officers to the SPVM

Labour shortage: almost impossible to add 450 police officers to the SPVM

MISE À DAY

The Legault government's goal of adding 450 police officers to the Montreal police within five years will be almost impossible to achieve.

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault's announcement on Saturday, on the eve of the start of the election campaign, hides an important detail: it is not simply a question of hiring 450 people, but of increasing the number by 450. net of police officers. 

Geneviève Guilbault, Minister of Public Security.

In particular, it will be necessary to replace the hundreds of police officers now eligible for retirement, not to mention that the very low starting salary and the risks of working in Montreal put off many candidates.

Over the past few days, our Bureau of Investigation has collected testimonies from several well-informed police sources and has gone through documents that show the extent of the challenge.

“Forget it, Montreal will never be able to hire the number of police officers hoped for,” said a Montreal police officer on condition of anonymity.

“It will take politicians who have column,” summarizes former SPVM inspector André Durocher in an interview.< /p>

Here are five reasons that could prevent the minister's announcement from happening.

1 – HUNDREDS OF RETIREMENTS TO BE EXPECTED

No less than 1,673 Montreal police officers could retire between December 31, 2021 and the end of 2026. Of that number, 558 are already eligible and are just a phone call away. 

The others will reach their eligibility date by the end of 2026.  

If all these beautiful people had to leave, it is not 450, but 2123 hirings that the City will have to make in five years. The real figure is somewhere in between, summarizes a police source who requested anonymity. 

“With the retirements coming up, it is impossible to solve the problem of in the short and medium term,” says this source.

Note that an SPVM police officer is eligible to retire after 25 years of service. But leaving as soon as he is eligible does not allow him to receive the maximum retirement pension. 

2 – A LOW STARTING SALARY < /p>

In Montreal, recruits are hired as permanent auxiliary constables, at an annual salary of $36,939 for 24 months.

“It is very difficult to arrive financially with a net monthly salary of $1921. The CERB [the Trudeau government's emergency benefit for the unemployed during the pandemic] was $2,000says another police source.  

In comparison, other police forces offer much better.

  • In Laval, the rookie assistant's annual salary is $40,817. This salary is increased to $45,474 after six months. 
  • In Quebec, we are talking about $44,368 at hiring.
  • At the Sûreté du Québec, we offer $48,386 upon entry into service.

< p>Two young police officers told us that they regretted having applied to the SPVM, because they believe that the risk of “being fired at the salary [they earn] at the start of their career is not worth the effort”. 

3 – THE MONTREAL REALITY

Who wants to work as a police officer in Montreal? Our sources point out what they consider to be an obstacle to hiring:

  • The need to speak French and English;
  • Cultural diversity which makes interventions more complex;
  • Being insulted, filmed, intimidated regularly and living with the fear of ethical complaints;
  • The tense work environment due to the firearms crisis. 

The SPVM says it has hired 152 police officers since November 2021.

Since January 2022, there have been 152 departures, including 42 resignations, according to the SPVM.

For a clean record of… no more police.

4 – HOW TO TRAIN THEM?

L he National Police School of Quebec (ENPQ), in Nicolet, is authorized to train 648 cadets per year, for all police forces.

This number will increase to < strong>828 from November, under recent announcements from the Ministry of Public Security.

But beyond this theoretical figure, it is still necessary to be able to accommodate as many students. On the ENPQ website, it is mentioned that the current waiting time between the end of college studies in police techniques and the entry of a cohort to the ENPQ is between 11 and 23 months. 

The ENPQ ensures that it is trying to shorten the deadlines and increase the reception capacity. 

Also, the number of enrolled in the police academy is decreasing year on year, from 1018 applications for admission in 2013-2014 to 785 in 2021-2022. 

5- THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE REGIONS

One from our police sources underlines that the police cadets who enter the ENPQ want, most of the time, to return to their regions to work there: “The guy who comes from Quebec, who comes from Saguenay or elsewhere, he does not want know nothing about coming to Montreal,” he says. 

André Durocher adds that “young police officers want a quality of life, which Montreal does not offer them.” 

Do you have any information to share about the police? Contact me confidentially at marc.sandreschi@quebecormedia.com or at 514 212-3937

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