Provincial and police officials this morning touted the success of a joint Winnipeg Police Service and RCMP unit created to track down serious felons.
The Manitoba integrated warrant apprehension unit made its 1,000th arrest and is credited with keeping Manitoba streets safer from hard-core criminals.
"The work of this unit is making Manitoba streets, our communities, our neighbourhoods, safer," Justice Minister Andrew Swan said during a news conference at the downtown Public Safety Building.
The integrated warrant apprehension unit consists of three Winnipeg police officers and three RCMP officers whose job is to track down wanted violent offenders and individuals who have breached court conditions or skipped out on court appearances for such serious crimes as property, driving, drug and weapons offences.
It is funded by the Selinger government, which set up the unit in September 2011, at the request of the two police forces.
Winnipeg police Sgt. John O’Donovan, who has been with the unit since the beginning, said the success of the unit frees up the work of general patrol officers.
O’Donovan said about 70 per cent of the unit’s arrests have been violent offenders who were eluding capture.
O’Donovan said the unit has proven successful in tracking down individuals who have fled the jurisdiction of rural police and RCMP detachments to hide in Winnipeg.
Swan said the unit’s success has helped restore public confidence in the justice system, adding felons realize they cannot escape responsibility to appear in court.