Draft report suggests sweeping cuts for Winnipeg police
Leaked report commissioned by city suggests major cost cutting measures for Winnipeg cops
A leaked report is suggesting major cuts to the Winnipeg Police Service.
American-based Matrix Consulting is working on a report for city officials to cut costs at the police service.
A leaked version of the report was released Thursday morning, containing suggestions for major cuts including shrinking the stolen car unit, disbanding the vice squad and closing the cold case unit.
City Councillor Scott Fielding chairs the police board. He said the firm was hired to find savings but that the report was not complete when it was leaked.
"We need the report to be finished, number one. And number two, it needs to go public and people need to digest it, and we need to come up with a plan to implement a number of the recommendations," said Fielding.
He said the report should be complete in late September or early October, and it could contain as many as 100 recommendations.
When the report is ready, Fielding said, nothing is safe from the chopping block.
"Everything’s on the table, and once the report comes we’re going to study it, and if there’s things that make sense to move on, then we’re going to do it," he said. "It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to take every recommendation."
Coun. John Orlikow said he’s disappointed the group was hired in the first place.
"It has nothing to do with operations. It has everything to do with just finding cuts," he said, adding he suspects "this whole report was nothing but a smoke screen to say, ‘It wasn’t us who wants to do the cuts -- it’s Matrix Consulting!’"
The Winnipeg Police Association isn’t happy about the news. George Van Mackelbergh is the vice president of the association. He said making cuts to programs that reduce crime don’t make sense.
"To say that because policing has been successful in some areas and is showing success, that you now eradicate programs — I think that’s ridiculous," he said.
Police Chief Devon Clunis called a press conference on Thursday afternoon to address the report. He said it’s too early to comment on specifics but said he’s not afraid of change.
"I’ve built my reputation simply on being a person who’s innovative, going into organizational areas, causing organizational change to take place and recognizing that the entire police service has to change to meet the needs of our citizens," said Clunis.
This year, the City of Winnipeg spent $242 million on its police service.