A controversial external review of the Winnipeg Police Service that promises cuts to the force and changes to its operations will be released within the month.
Coun. Scott Fielding, chair of the Winnipeg Police Board, said the report from Matrix Consulting Group will be released the week before the board’s Nov. 8 meeting.
The Free Press reported at the end of August that the Matrix report is recommending a major overhaul of the WPS, including elimination of the vice and cold case units, reducing the size of the stolen-auto unit and closing the clandestine laboratory unit.
Finance chair Russ Wyatt accused senior police executive of leaking the report to the Free Press, which prompted chief Devon Clunis to hold a news conference to deny his office was the source of the leak.
Fielding told the board that full briefings will be held with board and council members, the WPS executive and the Winnipeg police union.
Fielding told reporters the Matrix report will recommend cuts and operational changes, but said the public and stakeholders will be given an opportunity to respond to its findings.
"We want the (WPS) to be more effective and efficient," Fielding said following this morning’s police board meeting. "There’s going to be a whole bunch of recommendations that make sense and maybe some we won’t take a look at for a variety of reasons."
In what some might consider a pro-active move, Clunis earlier this morning outlined to the police board a series of operational changes to the WPS, including merging the vice and missing persons units into a new team mandated to deal with sexual exploitation of vulnerable people.
In other operational changes, Clunis said:
Community relations will work with the street crime unit to identify families and individuals who need help getting out of the gang lifestyle;
Aligning street crime and organized crime units, to develop long-term gang strategies, improves intelligence gathering;
The WPS needs more analysts if it’s to curtail crime. Clunis told the Winnipeg Police Board this morning that if the service fails to analyze crime patterns, it will continue to chase after criminals rather than stay ahead of them.