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

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

Just Posted

Saanich man killed in Alberta shooting

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Victoria ranks as 16th least affordable city in the world

Vancouver, as well as the Fraser Valley, Nanaimo and Comox Valley also crack the Top 25

Saanich’s plastic bag ban won’t be affected by the Supreme Court ruling against Victoria

Council amended Saanich’s ban to align with the B.C. Court of Appeal’s ruling in November

Victoria security company sees jump in clients in lower downtown after influx of thefts

Themis Security has signed several new contracts for businesses in lower Yates, Johnson streets area

Powerful Russian folk trio makes triumphant return to city

Trio Voronezh back on Victoria stage for first time since appearing at Coupe Mondiale in 2013

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Ucluelet and Tofino mayors call for “calmness” and “empathy” as highway closure cuts communities off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Was Bigfoot just spotted on a Washington State webcam?

Sherman Pass is rougly 70 kilometres south of Grand Forks, B.C.

B.C. employer health tax wins ‘paperweight award’ for red tape

Businesses forced to estimate payroll, pay new tax quarterly

Red Carpet Valentine’s event will aid Sooke charities

This is a chance to have that “red carpet” experience

New U.S. LNG terminal near northwestern B.C. town proposed

AlaskCAN International LNG wants terminal just over Canadian border, but using B.C gas

Couple wonders who’s in a Cariboo photo that’s been hanging in their home for years

Charles and Lynn Dick believe the image was taken at the 70 Mile Road House

‘I would not go’ to China says B.C. traveller concerned about coronavirus

Alice Li said she goes to China every other year but would scrap any travel plans

Most Read