Certain stores in Toronto have been seriously ramping up security efforts lately, going as far as actually hiring uniformed police officers to monitor doors in what is, presumably, an attempt to deter ongoing theft.
Thus far, customers have spotted members of the Toronto Police Service at multiple Winners locations in the city — in Dufferin Mall and Liberty Village — and also at a Marshall’s outpost.
And unfortunately for TJX Canada, the company that owns both stores, it seems like some citizens are quite put off by the new move.
About as icky as I do seeing uniformed security guards posted at every Dollarama and Metro grocery store.
— The280Times Trivia Channel (@The280Times) November 14, 2023
Some vow to avoid any store where they see officers posted, with one person saying, “it’s up to customers to decide their tolerance level. For me it would be zero.”
Others fear the potential profiling of certain shoppers given the police’s history, saying they would be “very uncomfortable” frequenting a store with an officer present, especially if they were a member of a targeted group.
But a few believe that the step must be justified, given the cost of having an officer on-site.
Some suggest that the phenomenon is simply an indication of the times, as unfortunate as it may be to see — “deterring crime is ok with me,” and arguments that it is needed are the sentiments of a few involved in the discussions on X (formerly Twitter) this week.
As TPS told blogTO last month, these would be paid duty officers who are available for private hire “to provide a police presence for a range of functions and events,” not limited to security.
They charge a rate ranging from $90 to $112.50 per hour, for a minimum of three hours, as paid for by a private entity, not taxpayers.
Let me put this into perspective for you…
A TPS ‘Pay Duty’ cop costs $67/hr. For a retail entity having to resort to this, they’ve calculated their ‘shrinkage’/theft to be more than that per hour. Insane.
— The Diviner (@TheDiviner2023) November 10, 2023
While the cops are one step above the private security guards and other measures controversially imposed at select grocery stores, dollar stores and other retailers in recent weeks, other brands — including the LCBO, Rolex, the Apple Store and Indigo, per netizen sightings — have likewise opted for the actual authorities.
Some speculate that it may have to do with the limitations on security guards to act on crime in cases where police can step in and be more physically involved.
Pvt security obviously has limits, mainly observe & report. But wstg of police even on corporate dime ain’t justified. That officer now has high incentive to work OT at private than to be available for actual police work. Moreover, a trained cop has been reduced to mall security
— Gugu Aujla 🇨🇦 🇺🇲 🦅 (@GuguAujla) November 11, 2023
But, even if a store deems the cost of hiring a paid duty officer worth it, some worry about taking members of the force away from police work in the public sphere just to protect corporate interests.
TJX Canada refused to comment on the subject when contacted by blogTO, while staff at individual stores were likewise unwilling to provide any details.