Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant announced the creation of the new Protection and Response Team (PRT) to aid in the reduction of crime in rural Saskatchewan.
The new PRT is being created in response to recommendations by the Caucus Committee on Crime (Committee). The new PRT will consist of 258 armed officers who will have arrest and detention powers, and will be comprised of:
- 120 police officers from RCMP and municipal police services:
- 60 police positions currently deployed to the Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan (CTSS) Initiative;
- 30 new police positions; and
- 30 re-purposed police positions currently funded by the ministry, will be integrated with,
- 40 Ministry of Highways Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers (CVEO) with expanded powers; and
- 98 Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers (CO).
All PRT members will receive a comprehensive training curriculum which will be provided to all officers regardless of their designations. PRT expands on the successes of blended policing models to:
- Improve police response to emergency calls for services, including property crimes that are in progress.
- Enhance uniform visibility and presence in rural Saskatchewan.
- Increase the enforcement of drug trafficking on Saskatchewan’s roadways.
- Enhance the safety of Saskatchewan roads by reducing the number of serious collisions and fatalities.
“The security and safety of the people of Saskatchewan is the number one priority of the Ministry of Justice,” Wyant said. “I would like to thank the Caucus Committee on Crime for their thorough efforts in their province-wide consultations.”
A total of $5.9 million will be invested in order to support the new group and other recommendations in the report. SGI will provide $4.9 million directly to fund the additional officers and an additional $1 million will come from the Ministry of Justice to address recommendations.
The government has committed to addressing the safety needs of the Saskatchewan people, the proposed plan that enacts the recommendations of the Committee ensures the continued safety of the province’s residents.
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.
“The Committee heard several issues on crime in rural and urban areas, the absence of police visibility in rural areas was a main concern,” Committee Chair Herb Cox said. “We are very pleased with the response being taken to address the recommendations of the committee.”
The Ministry of Justice will be working closely with other ministries and agencies involved to ensure the Protection and Response Team is fully staffed before the end of this fiscal year.