Skip to content

Details on the new Sask. Marshals Service

Minister of Corrections and Policing Christine Tell told reporters the new force will have approximately 70 officers by 2026.
Christine Tell speaks to reporters about the Saskatchewan Marshals Service on Nov. 3.

REGINA - Details are being revealed about the new province-wide Saskatchewan Marshals Service being created by the provincial government.

Minister of Corrections and Policing Christine Tell spoke to reporters about the new service on Thursday. She told reporters the SMS will consist of approximately 70 officers, and the hope is to get it to a full complement by 2026. 

The Marshals Service will be an independent agency reporting to the Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety. For oversight, the plan would be for them to report to an advisory committee, but not directly to the province. The annual cost of the service, once fully implemented, will be approximately $20 million.

According to the province, the Marshals Service is to provide an additional law enforcement presence across Saskatchewan, conduct proactive investigations and support RCMP and municipal police operations. 

Duties would include responding to areas with high crime rates, apprehending offenders with outstanding arrest warrants, and investigating rural offences such as trespassing, as well as farm-implement, chemical or copper wire theft offenses. Tell told reporters these are some of the underserved areas this force would respond to. 

The idea, according to the province, is for the force to provide more visible and active policing to areas of the province and work with RCMP and municipal police to strengthen law enforcement across the entire province.

Tell said it would not be just responding to incidents. “There are things that occur in policing that are done behind the scenes,” said Tell. For instance, with such examples as gangs or drug trafficking, “all of these things require actions that may not be visible to the public… before a more visible operation occurs.” That could include surveillance or entry with the police of that jurisdiction.

“It just gives more support to our police in getting some of these people off our streets.”

In terms of staffing, the force would be made up of experienced police officers who are “somewhat far away from recruit training, whatever that may be,” said Tell. 

It is envisioned the force would be in locations across the province, “bearing in mind this team will be mobile. That’s a critical element in all of this,” said Tell.

The Service will have police authority throughout the province, but Tell said this new force will not take resources away from the RCMP. The RCMP remains the provincial police service of jurisdiction. 

In addition, the province will be implementing an expansion to WEST (Warrant Enforcement Suppression Team) in Prince Albert at approximately $1.6 million. This consists of eight RCMP officers, one analyst and one administrative support position and is expected to be operational in late 2023-24.

This unit will target high-profile offenders who represent a significant threat to public safety including gang members and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

Also, a new Crime Reduction Team will be established in the Battlefords. That will consist of eight officers, one analyst and one administrative support position, which will be funded at $1.6 million annually to fund the unit, which is expected to be operational in late 2023-24 (fiscal year). The CRT's mandate is to target street gangs and prolific offenders and respond to urban and rural crime surges. There are currently nine such Crime Reduction Team units across the province and this increases the total number to 10.

NDP not on board with the moves

In a statement, NDP Corrections and Policing Critic Nicole Sarauer raised a number of concerns about the creation of the new Saskatchewan Marshals Service.

“We know crime is a big concern for many communities across the Saskatchewan and that other provinces have already found the implementation of new provincial police forces to be a costly and ineffective solution. This $20 million would be better spent elsewhere,”Sarauer stated.

“Further, we have concerns about the independence of this force and any police force that would be answerable to the Minister of Corrections. It is important that policing bodies be independent from government interference and troubling that Scott Moe's Sask. Party government has failed in the past to take this seriously.

“To make matters worse, Minister Tell admitted today that the new Saskatchewan Marshals Service would compete with the RCMP and municipal police services for new recruits, straining already under-resourced detachments. This announcement, which amounts to little more than the reshuffling of existing resources, is unlikely to be implemented before 2026 and would certainly not improve community safety in the short or medium term.”

Click for more from Crime, Cops and Court.