The RCMP’s north district crime reduction team will expand from four officers to six as a result of $1.9 million in annual spending by the provincial government.
The money, announced by Justice Minister Cliff Cullen Nov. 26, will also go toward the creation of five-officer crime reduction teams in the RCMP’s western and eastern districts and the addition of four officers to the “D” division enforcement team, which targets street gangs and organized crime involved in trafficking guns and drugs throughout the province.
Crime reduction teams focus on serious prolific offenders and drug dealers. The north district covers everything from Grand Rapids up to the Manitoba-Nunavut boundary.
“Our government is taking action in response to concerns from rural Manitobans who no longer feel safe in their homes and communities,” said Cullen. “This important investment will support more officers across the province, complementing many other initiatives already underway that focus on public safety and crime reduction. We are following through on our commitment to implement the Safer Streets, Safer Lives Action Plan and this support to the RCMP is an important step.”
Funding for the two additional officers in the north was among the promises Premier Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative party made during the provincial election campaign last summer.
“We are pleased to be able to expand our crime reduction and enforcement teams to ensure there are dedicated resources throughout the province,” said Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP. “Those who produce and traffic illicit drugs destroy lives, homes and communities. We remain committed to dismantling the drug networking and drug traffickers that bring drugs to our towns and cities.”
Provincial spending will also help fund positions for two new criminal analysts to identify criminal trends and hotspots to enhance law enforcement. The government also anticipates that it will provide more resources for its own public safety investigation (PSI) unit, which investigates confidential tips about properties where chronic crime takes place, support a new provincewide Crime Stoppers campaign with more cash to pay for drug-related anonymous tips, and make it easier to seize money and assets connected to the sale of illegal drugs. The PSI team responds to about 3050 and 400 complaints per year, the province says.
Manitoba is also working with the RCMP and other police services to develop a centralized provincial intelligence database with information about organized and serious crime and other safety concerns to support data-driven policing and cooperation between police and other public safety partners.
“Targeted investments will help ensure police are placed where and when they’re needed, and be able to respond based on timely, accurate and insightful information,” said Cullen. “We are committed to investing in human resources, technology, and other tools at our disposal to address rural crime and other public safety issues affecting Manitobans. Partnerships with law enforcement, communities, service providers and other systems will help build healthier, safer lives for all Manitobans.”
The RCMP serves about 580 communities and about 80 per cent of Manitoba’s area, covering more than 465,000 square kilometres. There are close to 1,000 RCMP officers and 500 civilian employees working in Manitoba.