OPP launching new program for police-requested tow trucks

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The OPP announced what’s expected to be the first of a number of reforms in the province’s crime-ridden towing industry.

A new program, announced Tuesday, promises significant changes on how OPP officers request tows — primarily roadside impounds for offences such as stunt or impaired driving, but also vehicles remanded for evidence or requests on behalf of the public who need a tow.

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The new program will introduce a list of requirements for tow providers wishing to take part, including filling out annual applications which seek details on tow truck ownership, and criminal background checks.

The new program does not change the “first-available” system currently in use for collision tows — the source of much of the criminality in southern Ontario’s towing industry.

The deadline for towing operators to apply is Nov. 1, with the program expected to launch next year.

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  3. A damaged vehicle on a tow truck.

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Targeting criminality in the towing industry has been a concern of both police and Queen’s Park for the last several years.

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In June 2020, the province announced the creation of a task force to revamp Ontario’s towing industry.

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Led by the York Regional Police, Project Platinum last year targeted ongoing conflicts between rival towing operators — a bloody battle for lucrative collision tow business that left several people dead, tow trucks torched or shot at, and insurance companies bilked out of millions of dollars.

Police officers across the region found themselves caught up in the seedy industry, with a number of OPP and Toronto Police officers facing corruption charges.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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