Our provincial government is attempting to crack down on violent offenders.

Premier Heather Stefanson announced Thursday morning an investment of more than $3 million in the Winnipeg Police Service, RCMP and other police agencies to create an integrated violent offender apprehension unit and strengthen intensive bail and probation supervision for serious, violent offenders.

"As violent crime continues to rise across the province, I want Manitobans to know that our government says, 'enough is enough,' all individuals and families deserve to feel safe," says Stefanson. "Today’s announcement will allow law enforcement to use strategic criminal intelligence and proactive violence intervention to find and apprehend the most violent criminals responsible for committing the most serious crimes in our communities."

Stefanson says this investment will strengthen the coordination of Manitoba law enforcement's ability to track and monitor high-risk and violent offenders and dedicate officers and provincial programs to intervene proactively with dangerous individuals.

The integrated violent offender apprehension unit, initially comprised of officers from RCMP and the Winnipeg Police Service, will support investigative teams to locate offenders who are responsible for violent crime in Winnipeg and in communities across Manitoba. The unit will have access to all the tools, intelligence and resources of both police forces in order to take violent offenders into custody.

"The increase in violent crime is a concern to citizens across this province. Many acts of violence are being committed by repeat and prolific offenders who are well-known to law enforcement," says Steinbach MLA and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen. "These officers will use criminal intelligence practices to target and track high-risk offenders who have warrants for arrest, who are gang-involved, drug traffickers, illegal gun smugglers, or involved in organized crime. Once identified as high-risk offenders, these individuals will receive enhanced surveillance and monitoring, which often leads to arresting these individuals before they cause further harm."

"The funding announced today and the integrated unit it will support will allow for more dedicated resources to pursue and locate violent offenders and help to enhance the safety and security of communities throughout the province," says Assistant Commissioner Rob Hill, commanding officer, Manitoba RCMP.

Stefanson says in addition to integrated violent offender apprehension unit, two further initiatives will support bail and non-custodial sanctions, while also enhancing public safety. The first program will target offenders in Winnipeg who need intensive supervision and support in order to comply with bail conditions and change their behaviour. The second investment enhances resources allocated to the criminal organization high-risk offender unit, an intensive probation program that targets offenders who have been identified by justice partners as posing a very high risk to public safety. The additional resources will allow this unit to provide intensive services to more offenders, including those in rural jurisdictions, working in conjunction with policing partners to ensure a targeted approach.

Goertzen says intensive community-based supervision programs increase community safety by breaking cycles of offending which may not otherwise be addressed. He says additional intensive supervision and support is expected to decrease the likelihood of an individual offending or breaching a bail condition, thereby benefiting both the individual and their community.