News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 3, 2019

MANITOBA POLICE COMMISSION REPORT RECEIVED BY PROVINCE

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Ongoing Collaboration Needed Between Business Leaders, Public Safety Experts, Community Organizations and All Levels of Government: Cullen




The province has received the Manitoba Police Commission consultation report and recommendations on how to improve safety in downtown Winnipeg, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today. 

“We committed to Manitobans that we would take immediate action to help ensure everyone feels safe in downtown Winnipeg and I am pleased to formally receive the Manitoba Police Commission’s initial report,” said Cullen.  “This initial report provides practical recommendations for actions and initiatives to increase public safety and reduce crime and we would like to thank the Manitoba Police Commission for its efforts.”

The 46-page report includes recommendations for action and advice on the role of government including regulatory roles, respective provincial, municipal and private funding responsibilities, and program monitoring to strengthen safety in downtown Winnipeg.

Some of the key highlights include:
•    increasing foot patrols using a co-ordinated approach;
•    building public awareness on the ability for non-police organizations and foot patrols to conduct welfare checks of vulnerable people;
•    exploring the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID), a private sector-led initiative ensuring a safer, cleaner and greener zone in downtown Minneapolis.
•    establishing of a Public Safety Communications Centre for downtown;
•    continuing support drug treatment and mental health services; and
•    furthering efforts to engage with the community.

Of particular interest is the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, the minister noted.  Earlier this year, Manitoba Justice sent representatives to Minnesota to study the model.  The Downtown Safety Partnership, launched in Winnipeg last month, takes a similar approach by establishing partnerships between the business community, police and local government.

“We will be working with all of our stakeholders to help ensure many of these recommendations lead to a safer Manitoba and a safer downtown Winnipeg,” Cullen said.  “The leadership of True North Sports and Entertainment and the many other partners involved in the Downtown Safety Partnership are building on a proven model to meet the needs of our community.  To be successful, ongoing collaboration between Manitoba’s business leaders, public safety experts, community organizations and all levels of government will be essential.”

In response to the report’s recommendations, the province has also tasked the Manitoba Police Commission with a pilot project to establish and co-ordinate six community committees focused on policing and public safety issues, beginning early next year.  These committees will be responsible for identifying issues and implementing solutions in response to local concerns, tracking results and reporting back to the province through the commission.

The minister noted this process will help ensure the Manitoba government remains informed on relevant policing and public safety issues across the province, to better support more effective responses and solutions.  The committees will be established in Winnipeg, Brandon, Dauphin, Thompson, Portage, and Selkirk.  If successful, this approach could be expanded to other communities in future.

The report is one of a number of justice initiatives announced since the Manitoba government’s renewed mandate including:
•    announcing a $1.9-million annual investment to support the expansion of RCMP crime reduction and enforcement teams to focus on serious, prolific offenders and drug dealers;
•    supporting the establishment of the Bear Clan patrol in Portage la Prairie;
•    investing $65,000 in the community mobilization hub serving Portage la Prairie;
•    investing approximately $516,000 in the Winnipeg Police Service including new computer workstations for the technological crimes unit, which will improve its ability to process digital evidence and more effectively investigate crime, and a drone to provide aerial support for search and rescue operations and tactical support, using infrared and other technology; and
•    investing more than $137,000 from criminal property forfeiture for police across Manitoba, including Altona, Winkler, Morden, Rivers, Springfield and the Manitoba First Nations Police Service.

These initiatives build on the Manitoba government’s release of the Policing and Public Safety Strategy earlier this year, helping build stronger partnerships and offer better supports to Manitobans in crisis.

“Our strategy sets out a plan to achieve a safer province for all Manitobans, recognizing that we can do more when we work together – including police agencies, community services and the health-care sector,” Cullen said.
   
The Manitoba Police Commission provides civilian input on police services and the conduct of police officers, which can include providing advice to the minister, consulting with the public, providing support to municipal police boards and overseeing the civilian monitor program, which observes independent investigations of police officers. 

For more information about the role of the commission, visit www.mbpolicecom.ca.  The Winnipeg Downtown Safety Study Initial Report can be found at www.manitoba.ca/openmb/infomb/index.html.

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