Rural Crime Initiative Receives Funding in 2018-19 Budget
The 2018-19 Budget will provide full funding to the Protection and Response Team (PRT) launched last summer.
The PRT was created in response to recommendations by the Government Caucus Committee on Crime and consists of 258 armed officers who will have arrest and detention powers, including municipal police, RCMP, Ministry of Highways Vehicle Enforcement Officers and Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers.
This budget includes $4.9 million in new funding from SGI for enhancements to the Rural Crime Strategy. This includes funding for an additional 30 police positions for phase two of the province’s Combined Traffic Safety Services Unit. Additionally, the Ministry of Corrections and Policing is providing a continued annual funding of $1.0 million to address other recommendations.
“We’re proud of the work that’s been done on the Protection and Response Team, and look forward to continuing to implement the recommendations of the committee,” Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said. “Our government understands that many rural residents have very legitimate concerns about crime and safety and that more needs to be done. We’ve already seen positive feedback from the initial development of the Protection and Response Team and are confident that it will be an effective long-term strategy for crime reduction in rural Saskatchewan.”
Since being announced in August 2017, the PRT has made significant progress, including:
- Launch of a dedicated Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods unit in Prince Albert;
- Creation of Intervention Circles that use the Saskatchewan Hub framework in Muskoday First Nation and Ochapowace First Nation;
- Purchase of Automatic License Plate Recognition Technology for PRT officers;
- the addition of three policing positions to the province’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) in Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon to focus on guns, gangs and drugs;
- Reassignment of 10 RCMP positions to provide relief to detachments experiencing staff shortages; and
- Completion of Saskatchewan’s first Rural Crime Innovation Challenge, which has led to the development of an app-based tracking system to alert land owners about irregular activity related to their property.
The committee’s recommendations also include ensuring RCMP resources and personnel are used effectively in rural areas, reviewing legislation to allow municipalities to jointly administer alternative policing programs, providing more funding for on-reserve programming and services, and other measures. The recommendations are the result of consultations the committee conducted beginning in November 2016. As part of these consultations, the committee toured 10 communities over 12 days and met with 58 stakeholders. Written submissions were also accepted and reviewed by the committee.