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Battlefords getting second RCMP gang unit to tackle crime

The Battlefords new CRT unit is expected to be up and running by 2024.

BATTLEFORDS – A second RCMP Crime Reduction Team with eight officers, an analyst and administrative support will help tackle crime and gang-related activity in the Battlefords.

The Battlefords new CRT unit is expected to be up and running by 2024 and cost about $1.6 annually. This expansion increases the total number of CRT units in the province from 9 to 10. This is part of the province’s new $20 million Saskatchewan Marshals Service [SMS], expansion of Crime Reduction Teams and [CRT] Enforcement and Suppression Team [WEST].

The CRTs perform proactive and reactive policing. Their main goal is to conduct targeted enforcement, or “hotspotting,” based on crime trend analysis, intelligence and consultations with community leaders. These units focus enforcement efforts on provincial and municipal policing priorities, including gang violence, gun crime and the sale of dangerous drugs such as crystal meth and fentanyl. 

The SMS will consist of approximately 70 officers. The service will provide an additional law enforcement presence across Saskatchewan, conduct proactive investigations and support RCMP and municipal police operations. Their duties will include responding to areas with high crime rates, apprehending offenders with outstanding arrest warrants and investigating farming-related offenses like theft and trespassing.

The SMS will be an independent agency reporting to the Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety and is expected to be operational by mid-to-late 2026. The SMS will have police authority throughout the province, and support RCMP and municipal police operations where appropriate. The RCMP will remain the provincial police service of jurisdiction. 

"We know there are areas in Saskatchewan that need more visible, active policing," said Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell in a prepared statement Thursday. "The SMS will provide that, and work with RCMP and municipal police to strengthen law enforcement across the entire province.

"In total, these new initiatives represent over $23 million in additional annual funding to enhance and expand law enforcement across our province," she added. "The Marshals Service and the expansions to WEST and CRT build on previous steps we have taken in recent years, such as the development of the Provincial Protective Services Branch and funding for the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team, to keep Saskatchewan people and communities safe."

More officers for Prince Albert

The Government of Saskatchewan is also providing about $1.6 million annually to implement an expansion to WEST in Prince Albert. The unit will consist of eight RCMP officers, one analyst and one administrative support position and is expected to be operational by 2024.

The first WEST units began operations in Saskatoon and Meadow Lake in April. WEST targets high-profile offenders who represent a significant threat to public safety, such as gang members and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

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