In the face of mounting criticism, Toronto’s chief of police says he will “stop the rollout” of the city’s controversial “military style stealth grey” police cruisers.
“As I meet with the people of the city at many events, including numerous town halls, among the subjects that are raised, the new look of our police cars has come up often,” Saunders said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
“There are people who like them. There are people who don’t like them.”
Saunders said the “concern” that has been expressed to him in recent weeks has convinced him that “further work is necessary.”
“I have decided to stop the rollout of the new-look police cars immediately,” he said.
“We will not be ordering any new grey police cars. We will set up opportunities for consultation, before we go any further.”
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash told Global News Thursday that if the service needs to order new cruisers in the meantime, they’ll defer to the older model.
“I think the statement is clear, he’s not ordering any further grey ones and what we’re going to do is consult and we’ll see what comes of the consultation,” Pugash said.
“The chief is going to be speaking to the Police Services Board about this, it depends on when that takes place. If we’re in a situation where we need, for operational reasons, to order cars — then we’ll order the white car.”
The news comes after Toronto city council voted 26-13 Wednesday in favour of asking the Toronto Police Service to keep its traditional red, white and blue cars pending further review.
The motion, put forth by Coun. Michael Thompson and seconded by Coun. Pam McConnell, asked police to retain the current vehicle colour scheme due to “growing public concern” about the “military style stealth grey police cruisers.”
It also called on the Toronto Police Services Board to “clarify the reasons why a change in the scout car colour and graphics is necessary” and why the new colour scheme was chosen.
— Mark Saunders (@marksaunderstps) September 20, 2016