It is being reported that the Toronto Police Service Board is looking into getting rid of the very successful anti-violence unit TAVIS. The success of the unit is second to none with thousands of arrests and seizures of hundreds of firearms off the streets of Toronto. Many questions will come up about the possible changes to this unit.

When a unit only concentrates on the worst of the worst, going into the neighbourhoods with ongoing violence, there will be complaints, it comes with the territory, and these problems are dealt with in a very professional way. TAVIS, over the years, has come across thousands of people with only a few complaints while working in the worst areas of the city. They are not out clearing traffic in intersections; they are dealing with the gang bangers and extremely dangerous people.

Another question is why is the TPSB making decisions that are clearly an operational part of the police service under the Ontario Police Act, which comes under the command of the service?

When some special interest groups make comments that TAVIS is not working because some people feel insulted, we have a big problem. If the goal is to “hug a thug” and have the police flip burgers at community BBQ’s then do it, but at the same time keep the “in your face policing”. Why not do both? Someone has to put the real numbers out and explain to everyone in this city just how many lives TAVIS has actually saved over the years. How many neighbourhoods are better today because of this unit? One way of doing this is to line up every firearm seized by TAVIS in front of city hall or the TPSB and see how far it stretches. I guarantee you, not one gun was seized as a result of a BBQ at a park.

Craig Bromell