The province is announcing the creation of a new Protection and Response Team to help fight crime in rural Saskatchewan.
The team will consist of 258 armed officers with arrest and detention powers, including:
- 120 police officers from RCMP and municipal police services
- 60 police positions currently deployed to the Combined Traffic Services Saskatchewan Initiative
- 30 new police positions and 30 repurposed police positions currently funded by the Ministry of Justice
- 40 Ministry of Highways commercial vehicle enforcement officers with expanded powers
- 98 Ministry of Environment conservation officers
All team members will receive a comprehensive training curriculum, which will be provided to all officers regardless of their designations. The team 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 team is being created in response to recommendations by the Caucus Committee on Crime.
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.