Halifax residents showed up to a Halifax Board of Police Commissioners meeting Wednesday night to speak out against the proposed changes to the Halifax Regional Police (HRP) budget.
The proposed 2024-25 operating budget is expected to cost $96,743,400, a 4.8 per cent increase over last year’s budget.
During the presentation Chief Don MacLean says the proposed $4,398,400 increase is crucial to the force.
The budget would see the force add 12 new patrol constables; additions to the community response office; a hate crime unit and more.
Halifax residents who spoke during the meeting said the money could be used for other supports in the municipality. Speakers say the money could instead go towards ways to reduce poverty, food insecurity and provide mental health support.
Chair of the board, Becky Kent says public safety is part of their jurisdiction, including mental health support.
Due to the increased population and rise in crime in recent years, MacLean says the budget increase is necessary.
Some attendees raised concerns about police attending to mental health calls at the hospital. The board voted to put forth the issue to the province to find an alternative.
The Board of Police Commissioners next meeting is on Nov. 29. The final recommendation made to regional council is expected before the end of the year.
Listen to the story below: