Government cuts funds from anti-gang programs

Last month, the government announced they would be cutting millions from the anti-gang programs Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

Last month, the B.C. government announced they would be cutting $2.8 million from the anti-gang programs Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).

A statement made by deputy commissioner Craig Callens said, “This will impact the number of enforcement teams and will be achieved primarily by reducing the numbers of teams from six to five (12 positions), maintaining a vacancy pattern and reducing our assistance to partner agencies. Operational support will also be reduced.”

Callens went on to say, “Significant progress has been made in recent years with respect to the police response to Organized and Serious Crime since the peak of gang violence in 2008/2009.”

In addition to the $2.8 million cut from CFSEU, the Ministry of Justice and Police Services Division confirmed that they would be cutting $1.4 million from the RCMP’s major crimes unit, a cut that will have a significant impact on the Special Project/Unsolved Homicide/Missing Persons program.

Although the Elk Valley is not necessarily known to benefit from these services, Sgt. Will Thien said the Valley is a passing through point for gangs.

“I don’t believe so, that we have any sort of gang here [but] we are a transitional area,” he added. “Individuals who are affiliated to organized crimes do pass through our towns, our jurisdictions.

Thien admitted that he doesn’t have concrete data to support this information, but he did say that within the last 24 months, the Elk Valley RCMP have arrested, charged and convicted, several local individuals for drug trafficking—a crime often affiliated with organized crime.

“Policing costs money and we have less to work with. There will be fewer police officers available in these specialized areas tomorrow than there were yesterday,“ Callens wrote.