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News Release - Manitoba

November 30, 2010

Two More Prestigious Awards Recognize WATSS Accomplishments

International Chiefs of Police Honour Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy

The Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy (WATSS) has been recognized again with two awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Attorney General Andrew Swan, Winnipeg Police Service Chief Keith McCaskill and Manitoba Public Insurance president and CEO Marilyn McLaren announced today.
“By working together, we’ve made huge strides in dealing with a serious crime that impacts public safety,” said Swan. “At the heart of this success is the dedication of the people who built this unique partnership. Together, they have made our streets safer and worked hard to ensure justice comes more quickly to those who offend.”
“Teamwork and co-operation are cornerstones of effective policing,” said McCaskill.  “WATSS built on that by bringing together the skills, expertise and resources of numerous agencies to address a common concern.  Working together, we made a positive impact in our community.”
“Dedicated people, strategic thinking and a real commitment to reduce auto theft resulted in the success of WATTS,” said McLaren.  “Our corporation is committed to reducing auto theft and will continue in the future to explore ways to lower the theft rate even more.” 
The two awards come from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), which has more than 20,000 members in 89 countries and includes heads of federal, state and local policing agencies of all sizes.  Founded in 1893, IACP is the oldest and largest non-profit membership organization of police executives in the world. 
The first award is The Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement. It is presented annually to up to three agencies and departments worldwide in recognition of efforts that promote a standard of excellence that exemplifies law enforcement’s contribution and dedication to the quality of life in local communities. The award is named for the IACP’s first president and is sponsored by Motorola and the IACP.
The second award from the organization is the International Association of Chiefs of Police Vehicle Theft Award of Merit. It was established in 2001 to showcase the annual results of vehicle theft prevention and enforcement programs around the world. 
The awards recognize the range of enforcement, suppression and intervention efforts brought together under WATSS. When the strategy began, Winnipeg had the highest rate of motor-vehicle theft in North America. Roughly one in five Criminal Code offences in Winnipeg in 2006 was a vehicle theft.
WATSS co-ordinates multiple programs that respond to varying levels of risk including intensive community supervision of offenders by probation workers, strict enforcement by the Winnipeg Police Service and its stolen auto unit, swift action in court through specialized Crown attorneys, compulsory vehicle immobilizers and programs for youth. 
Since 2005, WATSS has reduced auto theft in Winnipeg by more than 70 per cent, and, as of 2009, Winnipeg no longer had the highest rate of auto theft in Canada. 
The strategy was also a finalist for the 2009 Centre for Problem-Oriented Policing Goldstein Award, a prestigious international award honouring innovative and effective policing projects that have achieved measurable success in resolving recurring specific crime, disorder or public safety problems faced by police and the community.
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The Province of Manitoba is distributing this release on behalf of Manitoba Public Insurance, the Winnipeg Police Service and the Government of Manitoba.