Starting this fall, west central Saskatchewan is expected to see more law enforcement.
The province announced Friday $1.6 million has been allocated to the Saskatchewan RCMP to help fund two new permanent Crime Reduction Teams (CRTs) made up of 10 officers and four support staff members.
While there is potential these teams could help cut down rural response times, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said that’s not the initiative’s focal point.
“This is more about identifying those in the communities (who) are serial or prolific offenders and having a focus on those particular individuals — from the offending, right through into attempting to address why they’re offending in their particular circumstance, and then hopefully breaking that cycle,” he said.
Zablocki added the CRTs will also be executing arrest warrants and tackling gang activity.
The two new permanent CRTs will be based out of Prince Albert and North Battleford, with officers being able travel to other regions of the province, should there be a need.
Zablocki noted Prince Albert was chosen as a home base for better access to northern Saskatchewan communities struggling with crime related to drugs, alcohol and gangs, and North Battleford to help address issues around property crime in surrounding areas.
During the CRT’s 90-day pilot project earlier this year, there were 193 arrest warrants dealing with nearly 384 criminal charges — including charges against 26 gang members.