Indigenous council may be scrapped
THE future of the city’s Indigenous council on policing and crime prevention, which reports to and advises the Winnipeg Police Board, is up in the air.
The council, which is made up of local leaders from the Indigenous community, is being disbanded at the end of its three-year mandate.
Whether it will be reinstated in some capacity, or scrapped, remains unclear, police board chairman Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo) said.
“It’s not that we’re not going to replace it, but we’re going to review it now to see if it needs to be made into something else, to see if we can make it better,” he said Friday.
The council’s mandate was to advise the police board on how Indigenous public safety — and the relationship between police and Indigenous Peoples — could be improved. It met up to four times per year.
The three-year mandate for the board expires at the end of this year, and it remains unclear how long a review will take, Klein said.
“We want to talk to the members and see if it was effective enough, or if we need to make changes to make it more effective,” he said. “I would really like to see people sitting at the same table.
“I don’t think we necessarily need to have two different ones — maybe we do. But it would be nice to see more inclusion right at the (Winnipeg Police Board).”
Klein’s comments came shortly after the police board met Friday. It was his first as chairman since being nominated to the role last month by Mayor Brian Bowman.
At the meeting, Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth outlined recent initiatives the force has undertaken, including an increased focus on Transit safety and ongoing battles to combat property crime.
The number of hours officers have spent on city buses rose to 48 in October from 30 in September, Smyth said — the result of WPS brass encouraging members to increase their visibility on Winnipeg Transit vehicles.
“Over time, our members are adjusting to the way they walk the beat. We’re asking them to jump on the bus, take a short trip on the bus, have a presence on the bus,” Smyth said.
“It’s become clear from feedback from both the community and, frankly, from Transit that they would like to see more of a presence.
“It works well with our downtown strategy.”
The chief highlighted concerns about thefts at Winnipeg liquor stores, which, combined with the city’s methamphetamine crisis, is causing property crime rates to go up.
So far in 2018, property crime is up 21 per cent over 2017, WPS statistics show.