Manitoba government, police set up new unit to track down violent criminals
November 3, 2022 By The Canadian Press
Nov. 3, 2022, Winnipeg, Man. – Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government announced plans to crack down on violent criminals Thursday, the latest in a series of recent announcements on public safety.
The province and police forces are to set up a new specialized unit to track down violent criminals, including those wanted on arrest warrants, Premier Heather Stefanson said.
Monitoring of violent offenders released on bail or parole is also to increase.
“We are no longer going to put up with the heinous acts of crime committed by the most violent criminals in our society. Today we say enough is enough,” Stefanson said.
“As individuals and families, we all deserve to feel safe wherever and whenever we go out.”
The province is putting up $3 million to fund the unit, which will be made up of six Winnipeg police officers and six from the RCMP. The aim of having a dedicated unit is to have a specialized group that can focus on high-risk apprehensions.
Aside from people with arrest warrants, the unit is also to focus on people involved in gangs, drug traffickers and illegal gun smugglers, and to have them under increased surveillance, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said.
Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham welcomed the announcement and said residents told him during the recent municipal election campaign that crime was a top issue.
The new funding came the same day the province announced $300,000 for stronger enforcement against illegal night hunting. Other recent announcements on public safety include millions of dollars for homeless shelters and outreach programs, designed in part to address safety in downtown Winnipeg.
The Manitoba capital has already tied its record for the number of homicides in a year, at 44, with almost two months left to go.
Stefanson, who faces a provincial election next October, has indicated public safety will be a key component of the government’s throne speech later this month.
The Opposition New Democrats said the government needs to do more to address the root causes of crime.
“Here is where I think we have to be talking about some of those root causes – social issues, people living in our communities without shelter,” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.
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