Kingston Police report 2,000 more calls in 2023 than previous year

Kingstonist file photo by Daniel Tastard-Homer.

Kingston Police reported over 2,000 more calls for service in 2023 than they had in 2022, a 4.7 per cent increase.

This information appears in newly appointed Police Chief Scott Fraser’s year-end reports for 2023, which were published in advance of this month’s public meeting of the Kingston Police Services Board.

The published reports include a Year-End Statistical Report and a Use of Force Report for January-December 2023. Fraser also reported on the 2023 Administration of Public Complaints and on the Collection of Identifying Information in Certain Circumstances.

The statistical report, Fraser noted, is for information only, and he warned that caution should be exercised when interpreting the statistics, as “they represent a snapshot in time as at year-end for each year.”

According to Statistics Canada, calls for service (CFS) are defined as calls received by police services that are citizen-generated or officer-initiated and require the tasking of police resources (for example, a call to a 911 emergency line that resulted in the dispatch of an officer).

There were 48,597 total calls for service in 2023 — 2,190 calls more than in 2022, a 4.7 per cent increase.

Crimes against people decreased by 3.4 percent (54 fewer than in 2022). There was a slight 0.6 per cent decrease in crimes against property (36 fewer than in 2022), and other Criminal Code offences increased by 7. 4 per cent (+84). Drug offences increased by 4.2 per cent (+5), and traffic Criminal Code offences decreased by 5.7 per cent (-7).

Fraser’s report broke down incident types over the last year as compared to the five previous years. Chart via report to Kingston Police Services Board.

There were 16 more sex offence calls in 2023 than in 2022, an increase of 10.5 per cent. It is notable, however, that since 2018 the number of sex offence calls has trended downward, with 2023 being 24 per cent (-55) lower than 2018.

Assault calls decreased by 3.8 per cent (-25), while robbery calls increased by 51 per cent (+21), and criminal harassment calls decreased by 5 per cent (-7). Calls regarding harassing phone calls showed the same decrease as criminal harassment (9.6 per cent (or seven less than the year before), however, calls for service regarding threats increased by 2.45 per cent (+6).

Breaking and entering calls decreased by 9 per cent (-63), and theft of vehicle calls decreased by 38 per cent (-110), but calls regarding other thefts increased by 3.6 per cent (+127). And while raud calls decreased by 6.49 per cent (-64), mischief calls increased by 4.6 per cent (+44).

Fraser’s report broke down incident types over the last year as compared to the five previous years. Chart via report to Kingston Police Services Board.

Use of Force Statistics

Fraser noted that the Use of Force Report, January-December 2023 (Report Number 24-04) is for information only. 

His review of the Use of Force statistics for the year 2023 indicated that members of the Kingston Police submitted 91 reports (44 individual reports and 47 team reports) for the use of force in 85 separate incidents (multiple members responded to some incidents). 

In 2022, 75 reports (41 individual reports and 34 team reports) were submitted in 66 separate incidents. 

Police are required to complete and submit a Use of Force Report whenever they: 

  • draw (display) a handgun or carbine in the presence of a member of the public, excluding a member of the police force, while on duty; 
  • point a firearm at a person;
  • discharge a firearm;
  • use a weapon other than a firearm on another person; or 
  • use physical force on another person that results in injury requiring medical attention (this includes injury to another officer involved in the incident).

After supervisor review and approval, Use of Force Reports are examined by the Training Unit. 

Fraser’s report included a breakdown of the use of force options exercised in 2023, as compared to 2022, in the chart that follows.

Charts from Fraser’s report describe incidents where force was used. Charts via report to Kingston Police Services Board.

Fraser’s report noted that officers sometimes employed more than one use-of-force option in a given incident, and that verbal interaction was employed in incidents involving persons present. The reported race and gender identity information was solely based on the perception of the officer at the time of the interaction, according to the report.

De-escalation was attempted in 69 reports, Fraser stated. In the other 20 reports, de-escalation was not possible, due either to immediate action being required or imminent threat. In some instances, it was not applicable: for example, in the dispatch of an animal or when de-escalation was employed by another officer.

Fraser remarked that three reports related to incidents involving individuals who were uncooperative and/or resisting arrest. In one instance, the subject was reported as possessing weapons. 

Conducted Energy Weapons or CEWs (colloquially known as tasers), noted the chief, were displayed or pointed during incidents involving subjects who were either intoxicated, actively committing a crime, aggressive towards civilians or responding officers, possessing or thought to be possessing a weapon, threatening self-harm or suicide, attempting to flee a search/arrest warrant, or a combination of the previous. There were six effective and two ineffective deployments of the conducted energy weapon, he noted. Those deployments occurred during calls involving subjects who were high-risk, combative, or attempting to flee. In six of the occurrences, subjects were armed with firearms, knives, tasers, OC spray (oleoresin capsicum spray or “pepper spray”), or another object that could be used as a weapon. 

Fraser next remarked on the 67 reports filed for drawing (10) or pointing (57) firearms. In these incidents, the firearms were displayed or pointed because the suspects either were extremely violent or were known or suspected to be armed with firearms or other weapons.

He pointed out that there were 35 reports filed concerning the planned execution of warrants; the remaining reports related to observed wanted persons or calls for service in 30 separate incidents. Many of these incidents involved a response by multiple officers, which is reflected in the reported statistics. 

Fraser indicated that firearms were discharged to “dispatches of an injured animal” six times.

Fraser included a copy of the 2023 Ontario Public-Police Interactions Training Aid in his report — a graphic representation of a member’s use-of-force options, profiled behaviours, and situation assessment process. He indicated that the selection of a force option is based on many variables, including but not limited to the subject, the circumstances of the encounter, the degree of resistance, and the nature of the offence. “During the encounter, the member is constantly reassessing the situation and may change the force option one or more times,” the provincial document reads.

Graphic via the Ontario Public-Police Interactions Training Aid documents for 2023.

Public complaints

Fraser stated that the report on the administration of public complaints under Part V of the Police Services Act is designed to provide a brief overview and analysis of officer conduct and discipline issues. In addition, service or policy complaints, if any, are addressed in this annual report. 

From January 1 to December 31, 2023, he stated, there were 72 public complaints received by the Professional Standards Bureau. This number represents a 28.6 per cent increase (and a numerical increase of 56) over the same reporting period in 2022.

Of those 72 complaints, he noted, only 10 remain unresolved: either still under investigation or not yet concluded. Fraser noted, “We received seven public complaints in December 2023.”

There are no matters currently before the Police Services Act disciplinary hearings.

Collection of identifying information

According to The Police Services Act Ontario Regulation 58/16 on the “Collection Of Identifying Information In Certain Circumstances – Prohibition And Duties,” chiefs of police must review practices and report if identifying information was attempted to be collected disproportionately from individuals perceived to be within a group or combination of groups. Fraser made a zero or “nil” report for this purpose in 2023 and indicated, “The designated Regulated Interaction Verifier for the Kingston Police has confirmed that there were no collections and/or attempted collections of identifying information that triggered the subject regulation within 2023.” 

The Kingston Police Services Board will meet and receive the reports at its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2023, at 12 noon in the William Hackett Boardroom at Kingston Police Headquarters, 705 Division Street.

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