SASKATOON – The provincial government is boosting funding for the Saskatoon Police Service by $4.8 million. The money will be used to support 42 police positions in 2015-16.
The force says it need more officers trained to deal with incidents involving mental health crises, organized crime and child pornography.
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“Our front line officers don’t have the expertise to deal with people that are in unfortunate situations,” said police Chief Clive Weighill.
“It’s very difficult for an officer. We might receive a call, go to a house and the parents are saying ‘My son is schizophrenic. He hasn’t taken his medication. Can you help us?’”
To avoid similar situations, the province and city police are teaming up to bring out more specialized units like the Police and Crisis Team (PACT) to help those suffering from a mental health crises. PACT units each come with an officer and a mental health worker.
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Other initiatives include fighting organized crime and gang activity through the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) and reducing child sexual exploitation through the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit.
Weighill claims that internet luring and child pornography are on the rise, and it’s because of grants like this that the province and city can work together to take down offenders.
“The intricacies, the amount of training required to lure and catch these predators is pretty phenomenal,” said Saskatchewan Correction and Policing Minister Christine Tell.
“Knowing that there are police who are very well-trained, looking into these situations, where there’s predators luring online … I think that would give many people very much ease.”
Saskatoon was provided with the same grant of $4.8 million in 2014-15.