News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 3, 2022

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT TARGETS VIOLENT OFFENDERS

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Enough is Enough, All Manitobans Deserve to Feel Safe in Their Communities: Stefanson

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The Manitoba government is investing more than $3 million in the Winnipeg Police Service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other police agencies to create an integrated violent offender apprehension unit and strengthen intensive bail and probation supervision for serious, violent offenders, Premier Heather Stefanson and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.

“As violent crime continues to rise across the province, I want Manitobans to know that our government says, ‘enough is enough,’ all individuals and families deserve to feel safe. It’s fundamental to a strong, healthy and growing province,” said Stefanson. “Today’s announcement will allow law enforcement to use strategic criminal intelligence and proactive violence intervention to find and apprehend the most violent criminals responsible for committing the most serious crimes in our communities. This ‘tough on crime’ approach is different than what you have seen from our government in the past and there is more to come.”

Today’s investment will strengthen the co-ordination of Manitoba law enforcement’s ability to track and monitor high-risk and violent offenders, and dedicate officers and provincial programs to intervene proactively with dangerous individuals, the premier noted.

“Creating a warrant unit like this was part of my commitment to Winnipeggers in the recent election and I’m happy to work together with the Manitoba government, RCMP and other partners to make this happen,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham, City of Winnipeg. “Taking a more proactive approach to crime prevention and getting high-risk repeat offenders off the streets will improve safety throughout the city.”

The integrated violent offender apprehension unit, initially comprised of officers from the Winnipeg Police Service and RCMP, will support investigative teams to locate offenders who are responsible for violent crime in Winnipeg and in communities across Manitoba. The unit will have access to all the tools, intelligence and resources of both police forces in order to take violent offenders into custody, the premier noted.

“The increase in violent crime is a concern to citizens across this province. Many acts of violence are being committed by repeat and prolific offenders who are well-known to law enforcement,” said Goertzen. “These officers will use criminal intelligence practices to target and track high-risk offenders who have warrants for arrest, who are gang-involved, drug traffickers, illegal gun smugglers, or involved in organized crime. Once identified as high-risk offenders, these individuals will receive enhanced surveillance and monitoring, which often leads to arresting these individuals before they cause further harm.”

“We appreciate this investment from the Manitoba government. The Winnipeg Police Service is looking forward to collaborating with our partners at the RCMP on this important initiative,” said Chief Danny Smyth, Winnipeg Police Service.

“The funding announced today and the integrated unit it will support will allow for more dedicated resources to pursue and locate violent offenders, and help to enhance the safety and security of communities throughout the province,” said Assistant Commissioner Rob Hill, commanding officer, Manitoba RCMP.

In addition to integrated violent offender apprehension unit, two further initiatives will support bail and non-custodial sanctions, while also enhancing public safety, the premier said. The first program will target offenders in Winnipeg who need intensive supervision and support in order to comply with bail conditions and change their behaviour. The second investment enhances resources allocated to the criminal organization high-risk offender unit, an intensive probation program that targets offenders who have been identified by justice partners as posing a very high risk to public safety. The additional resources will allow this unit to provide intensive services to more offenders, including those in rural jurisdictions, working in conjunction with policing partners to ensure a targeted approach.

Intensive community-based supervision programs increase community safety by breaking cycles of offending which may not otherwise be addressed, Goertzen noted, adding that additional intensive supervision and support is expected to decrease the likelihood of an individual offending or breaching a bail condition, thereby benefiting both the individual and their community.

Working together, this investment in integrated, dedicated policing resources and enhanced resources for bail and probation monitoring is expected to proactively work towards reducing violent crime in Manitoba, the premier noted.

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