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

VicPD

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

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Crews respond to medical incident on West Saanich Road

Incident appears to be cleared, witnesses say

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

Most Read