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Province to hire 10 new attorneys

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Manitoba will hire 10 new Crown attorneys and up to five new support staff to work with them in an effort to speed up the handling of criminal cases.

The new prosecutors will be a mixture of new and experienced lawyers, Attorney General Andrew Swan said, estimating the added annual cost for the lawyers alone at about $1 million.

One of the new Crown attorneys will work exclusively on the new Block by Block initiative taking place within a 21-block area in the William Whyte neighbourhood.

Last fall, the province announced a pilot project to improve safety in the area. The initiative involves a co-ordinated approach in delivering community services to prevent individuals and families from falling on the wrong side of the law.

"The community prosecutor will be able to develop in-depth knowledge of the area to gain a better understanding of the issues faced by residents," Swan said. "The prosecutor will also liaise between social-service agencies and government to help ensure the community gets the justice services and support it needs."

Swan said the 10 new prosecutors will bring the total in Manitoba to 178 (including management and articling students).

The province also announced that it will increase funding to the Winnipeg Police Service to strengthen its disclosure unit. The extra $300,000 will allow police to share information with prosecutors more quickly. Four new civilian staffers are being added to the unit.

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