Manitoba’s RCMP says its specialized crime reduction teams are making a difference in rural and northern communities in the months after the province spent nearly $2 million to help expand the program.
The $1.9 million from the province — which was announced this past November — added two new officers to the existing team in the north, and created two new teams of five officers in the RCMP’s eastern and western districts.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy says the crime reduction teams are able to move swiftly to deal with ongoing investigations and aren’t bogged down with the day-to-day.
“It gives us an increased presence across Manitoba and it also gives us that flexibility that we can actually focus on very targeted enforcement activities as opposed to of having our members concentrate and go between calls to service and investigations,” she said at a news conference on Monday.
“This dedicated team really allows us to focus on those chronic offenders, repeat offenders and intelligence-led policing.”
The crime reduction enforcement support teams have been involved in dozens of investigations from March 1 to July 16 of this year, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said.
Charges have been laid against 43 people and RCMP have seized $76,000 and 46 firearms. More than 20 stolen vehicles have been found and drugs, primarily cocaine and meth, have also been seized and destroyed.
“This has proven very effective in a very short period of time,” Cullen said.
According to the RCMP, the crime reduction teams either led or assisted in 21 arrests in the west district and 11 in the east district since they were created.
He added the province is working to address the root causes of crime, including funding mental health and addictions programs.
“The fact of the matter is, here in Manitoba we are walking and chewing gum at the same time. We’re investing in both policing and we’re investing in the social programs that Manitobans require,” he said.
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