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More police, more prosecutors in Budget 2013: province

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The province will hire more police, cadets and prosecutors this year to battle crime.

Budget 2013 includes dollars to hire 11 more Crown attorneys and fund five new RCMP officers, 10 more Winnipeg police officers, and one officer for the Brandon police department.

As well, the province is also budgeting to hire five more paralegals for the prosecutions department, fund five police cadets in Winnipeg and make permanent the funding of five other cadets.

"Funding will be provided for more police officers and cadets, and to hire new prosecutors and support staff to ensure greater public safety," Finance Minister Stan Struthers said in his 2013 budget speech.

Last year the province budgeted $462 million on justice expenditures. This year the area is budgeted to cost $507 million.

Manitoba Justice itself is increasing its budget by almost $14 million or 2.6 per cent.

And within that, the Manitoba Prosecutions Service, the branch which has the Crown attorneys who prosecute people, is seeing salaries and employee benefits go up from $24.5 million to $27.8 million.

The 11 prosecutors and five paralegals being hired this year – at a cost of $699,000 - is the continuation of the plan announced in 2010 that will result in 53 new Crown attorneys and 29 paralegal and clerical staff hired by the end of 2016.

Last year, the province hired 17 new prosecutors and, including this year’s new hires, a total of 32 Crown attorneys and 18 paralegals will have been added to the payroll.

The five new RCMP officers will cost almost half a million dollars while 10 new Winnipeg police officers is budgeted for $900,000 more.

The new cadets will cost $300,000 more.

The same as last year, Brandon is receiving one more police officer in this year’s budget.

Meanwhile, while the province is spending more to catch criminals and prosecute them, they are not increasing the budget for lawyers to defend them.

Legal Aid Manitoba is going up $1.1 million to $29 million, but that rise is all due to increases under salary and employee benefits with nothing budgeted to hire more staff lawyers or provide additional fees for private lawyers.

Kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 4:42 PM CDT: Amends figures comparing last and this years' budgeted amounts.

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