WINNIPEG, MB. - Mayor Bowman announced the downtown safety investment plan yesterday and the Winnipeg Police Association is calling it pre-election posturing.
In a release, the association said that the Mayor's plan, "will not cover for the fact that Bowman and his allies on council have refused to provide the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) with the resources they need to address the service call demand – downtown or elsewhere."
“We all want to see a safe and thriving Winnipeg, and that includes a safe downtown. But this requires real police resources, not pre-election window dressing,” said Maurice (Moe) Sabourin, President, Winnipeg Police Association. “We all respect the efforts of the various public safety and awareness programs undertaken by organizations like Take Pride Winnipeg and the different BIZ organizations. They have a specific, and important, role in a safety strategy. They provide great ‘eyes and ears’ in the community. But when they need assistance, they call our members, and we can’t provide that assistance if our members are too pressed by other calls due to a lack of resources.”
Association president Sabourin also noted the occurrence of an aggravated assault shortly before the Mayor’s announcement yesterday morning, highlighting the critical role that fully-trained WPS members play in public safety all across Winnipeg, including downtown.
“Mayor Bowman himself called our new collective agreement ‘the most sustainable negotiated agreement with the Winnipeg Police Service in almost 20 years’, so you would think he would make more resources available to the WPS to address these concerns downtown,” said Sabourin. “Instead, while there always seems to be money for pet projects like opening up Portage and Main or Wi-Fi on buses, the WPS is forced to contend with a fixation on the rate of inflation. That sort of pre-election posturing will not keep Winnipeg families safe, downtown or anywhere else.”
Manitoba Post with files from the Winnipeg Police Association