Winnipeg Police Counter Exploitation Unit stored busy this 12 months: Chief

Breadcrumb Trail Links

Author of the article:

James Snell

Publishing date:

Dec 03, 202113 minutes ago3 minute read Join the conversation Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth. Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth. Photo by Kevin King /Winnipeg Sun

Article content

Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) Counter Exploitation Unit remains busy says Winnipeg’s police chief.

Advertisement

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

The unit is working with the Indigenous Women and Girls Safety Strategy and the WPS Missing Persons Unit to perform outreach and proactive sweeps in the city, Chief Danny Smyth explained in a report to the Winnipeg Police Board (WPB) on Friday.

From June to August, Smyth said police carried out three “John Sweeps” and one “Project Return,” resulting in 19 arrests for obtaining sexual services. As well, 27 missing people were located during Project Return, an operation with the Missing Persons Unit and Street Reach.

“You’ve heard me talk about missing persons reports,” said Smyth in a media scrum after a meeting of the WPB on Friday. “We have almost 80% of our missing persons are youth between 12 and 18 that are particularly vulnerable when missing. On top of that, you’ve also heard us say the majority of those youth are Indigenous. Many of them are coming from communities outside Winnipeg, so it even heightens their vulnerability even more. We work pretty closely with our Indigenous service providers in the community that have outreach workers.”

Advertisement

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

During Q3, Smyth explained, the Missing Persons Unit carried out two community engagement initiatives – Walking with the Junior Bear Clan in July, and a ride-along with the film crew from Gone Missing , a documentary.

“Sadly, the exploitation of women and girls remains an ongoing problem,” said Smyth. “However, everyone has a role to play in promoting safety for all.”

According to a WPS report, the five-year average for dispatched calls for service, as of 2019, was 217,763. The number climbed to 241,795 in 2020. Police conducted 18,991 wellness checks in 2020. Also, Winnipeg is number one on the Statistics Canada police-reported violent crime severity index for 2020.

Winnipeg’s police budget continues to climb.

Advertisement

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Despite demands on police, representatives from Winnipeg’s police abolition movement spoke in Friday’s WPB meeting. James Wilt of Winnipeg Police Cause Harm offered his thoughts on Winnipeg’s growing police budget.

“Police spending in Winnipeg is completely out of control,” he said. “The City has no plan to manage it and that is quite literally true. A report requested from the City’s CFO in December 2020 concerning sustainable and predictable funding for the police is still not completed for this budget cycle. This is also confirmed every budget season when the same thing happens over and over again.”

Police Board passes preliminary budget

The Winnipeg Police Board passed the preliminary 2022 Winnipeg Police Service budget on Friday.

Advertisement

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

The 2022 police budget is $320 million, 27% of the City’s total operating budget, up around $9 million from 2021. According to the public service, the increase in police spending is due mainly to pensions and salaries.

In November, the City’s Finance Committee approved a multi-million-dollar over-expenditure for the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) to carry it through to year’s end, while the police service found $6.1 million in savings for 2021.

Based on current data and conversations, the WPS will need to find $9 million in savings in 2022.

“You can’t predict what we’ll have to encounter in 2022,” Smyth said on Friday. “The way that we approached it largely in 2021, and I said that right from the onset, was that we would continue to control our overtime spending, which we have done. We balanced our attrition and our hiring, so that we were able to realize some savings.”

[email protected]

Twitter @JamesWestgateSn

Share this article in your social network

Advertisement

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Comments are closed.