Toronto: Police in Toronto have been sanctioned USD 122 million to maintain security during the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit.
Ahead of the June 26-27 summit, Toronto Police Chief William Blair was quoted as saying that he expected tension to prevail between the protesters and officers, and even warned of possible damage to government and public property.
The security-related budget has been sanctioned by the Police Services Board (PSB), which also deals with public complaints.
Local media quoted Chief Blair as saying that of the sanctioned USD 122 million, USD 82 million would be spent on the salaries for police officers, including 3,500 Toronto Police officers, 1,600 officers from across Canada and 900 Toronto Police civilian employees.
The remaining USD 40 million would be spent on costs like equipment, vehicles and clothing, he added.
The Canadian Government will bear the full expenses. Security for the Group of Eight and the Group of Twenty Summits are expected to cost the federal exchequer USD 1.2 billion.
Other officers will be deployed to control traffic, including road closures and lane restrictions to the city’s four major highways – Highway 401, Highway 427, the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.
Another area of concern is the use of sound cannons by the Toronto Police to communicate with crowds of protesters.
Civic associations have voiced their concerns on the matter, and Chief Blair has promised that they will be used with strict limitations.
In “extreme emergency situations”, he said, officers may use the device as an ear-splitting sound gun, which is outside its main purpose as a loudspeaker. It is capable of blasting up to 150 decibels.
Chief Blair said officers will be asked to deploy the devices at least 75 metres from a crowd and at a maximum of 96 decibels. The decision to use a sound cannon in such an emergency would be made by an incident commander and not by a street officer, he added.