WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government will invest $1.9 million annually to support the expansion of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) crime reduction and enforcement teams throughout the province including related policing investments with the goal of improving public safety for rural Manitobans, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“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.”
Crime reduction teams focus on serious, prolific offenders and drug dealers. The RCMP’s current four-member team in the north will receive funding to expand to six officers. Funding will also be used to create two new teams in the RCMP’s eastern and western districts, with five officers to be recruited for each location. Funding will also allow another four officers to be added to the D Division Enforcement Team, a centralized unit that targets criminal organizations and street gangs that traffic drugs and guns throughout the province.
“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.”
The minister noted timely and relevant analysis of crime data is essential to support front-line policing in the province. As part of this new investment with the RCMP, the province will also fund two new crime analyst positions, who will help identify criminal trends and hotspots to inform enforcement.
The speech from the throne also highlighted additional investments expected this year, focused on improving public safety for rural Manitobans:
Every year, the PSI unit responds to between 350 and 400 complaints, approximately 20 per cent of which are in rural Manitoba.
The minister noted police agencies require increasingly specialized tools and training to continue to serve Manitobans most effectively. In 2019-20, the provincial Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund and the federal Proceeds of Crime Fund provided nearly $1.5 million to police agencies serving rural Manitoba, including the RCMP, Brandon Police Service and several others, to support these types of investments. This also included:
As outlined in the province’s Policing and Public Safety Strategy, Manitoba will continue to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to develop a provincial intelligence model, which will centralize information about serious criminal activity, organized crime and other safety concerns. This is a longer-term initiative that will help support intelligence-driven policing and collaboration among police agencies and other public safety partners.
Community mobilization hubs will continue as a proven method of connecting at-risk young people and their families with wrap-around community supports. Government will continue to invest approximately $1 million annually to establish, enhance and support these locally led partnerships that bring together police, social service agencies, and families to address underlying issues and reduce contact with the criminal justice system.
“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 is Manitoba’s provincial police service of record. It serves about 580 communities and are responsible for policing over 90 per cent of the land in the province, covering more than 465,000 square kilometres. It currently has nearly 1,000 sworn police officers members and nearly 500 civilian employees.