REGINA – The Saskatchewan government is expanding the Internet Child Exploitation [ICE] Unit across the province with another $147,000 to help investigate and arrest perpetrators of child sexual exploitation.
In 2023-24, the ICE Unit will receive a total of more than $1.4 million through the Municipal Police Grant program.
"Protecting our province's most vulnerable citizens through prevention, outreach, harm reduction and treatment is crucial to a safer Saskatchewan," said Christine Tell, Minister Corrections, Policing and Public Safety in a prepared statement Monday.
In total, the ICE Unit will receive more than $1.4 million through the Municipal Police Grant program in 2023-24 to fund nine police positions, with five in Saskatoon, three in Regina, and one in Prince Albert. Two additional investigator positions, one each in Saskatoon and Regina, were added in 2022-23. In addition, the RCMP also receive $1.31 million in annual funding to support five positions within the ICE Unit. The ICE coordinator position was moved from Prince Albert to Saskatoon last year.
The ICE funding announcement is part of National Police Week, which runs from May 14 to 20. The theme is Committed to Serve to recognize the commitment of police in Saskatchewan and across Canada to establish safer communities for everyone.
"During National Police Week, I'd like to extend our sincere gratitude for the dedication of all Saskatchewan police officers for the work they do to keep us safe," said Tell.
In 2023-24, the province is investing $18.96 million to municipal police services through the Municipal Police Grant program to fund 143 police positions and targeted policing initiatives.
Other initiatives include establishing the Saskatchewan Marshals Service to increase policing capacity within the province, with a focus on rural and remote communities; expanding the Warrant Enforcement and Suppression Team [WEST] and the Crime Reduction Teams [CRT] that target high-risk offenders with outstanding warrants, and address gang crimes across the province; creating the Warrant Intelligence Team [WIT] to share information with law enforcement to assist in the apprehension and removal of prolific violent offenders from provincial social funding; supporting the work of the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team [STRT] dedicated to addressing illegal weapons, drugs and human trafficking; partnering with First Nations to provide proactive and culturally-sensitive policing services; expanding the Victim Advocate Case Review [VACR] program to Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and their surrounding areas; and adding additional resources to expand the Police and Crisis Team [PACT] program in Saskatoon and Regina.
"The Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police continues its commitment to enhancing community safety across our province," said Rick Bourassa, president of Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police. "We support and participate with our partners in the development, implementation and expansion of these and other preventative initiatives that advance safety and well-being in our communities."
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