Vancouver – The Province will dedicate an additional 168 police officers and 10 prosecutors as part of a comprehensive initiative to strengthen B.C.’s fight against gang and gun violence, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.
“Recent gang violence has been both shocking and appalling, and British Columbians have had enough,” said Premier Campbell. “We’re adding more police officers to investigate, arrest and get violent criminals off the street, and we’re dedicating more prosecutors to put criminals behind bars.”
Premier Campbell announced a comprehensive, seven-point plan to support ongoing efforts to tackle gang crime that includes:
1. More police officers
2. More prosecutors
3. More jails and secure courts
4. Tougher laws
5. Crackdown on illegal guns
6. Outlaw armoured vehicles and body armour
7. New gang hotline and rewards program
In addition to the dramatic increase in the number of police officers and Crown prosecutors dedicated to curbing gang activity, the Province is moving quickly to strengthen laws, increase penalties, and take away the proceeds of crime.
“I’m going to Ottawa with the solicitor general to lobby for the changes we need to tackle gangs in British Columbia,” said Attorney General Wally Oppal. “If you use a gun while committing a crime, you shouldn’t get bail. We want an end to 2-for-1 credit for time served. And we need a modern wiretap regulation that recognizes new technologies like cell phones and other devices.”
“Putting these additional police resources onto the street and backing them up with additional resources in the courtroom means we can dramatically increase our efforts to get these gangs off our streets,” said Minister for Public Safety and Solicitor General John van Dongen. “In addition to the new police, we’re also putting together a 10-member team focused solely on seizing illegal guns.”
The comprehensive public safety package will see $185 million invested in new jail cells, new regulations around the sale of body armour, revisions to the Motor Vehicle Act to outlaw modified armoured vehicles, and aggressive utilization of the Civil Forfeiture Act to seize and sell vehicles and property obtained through criminal means.
To encourage better participation in the arrest and prosecution of gangsters, an enhanced escalating rewards program will be developed to solicit tips and information that lead to the arrest and conviction of criminals. An additional $1 million will be allocated to the $3 million invested in youth education programs designed to help kids stay out of gangs.