Montreal anti-gang squad facing cuts

Federal budget cuts have left the future of the specialized Montreal police Eclipse squad, which fights organized crime, in jeopardy.

Police spokesperson says special Eclipse Squad needed more than ever with recent changes in Mafia leadership

Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews plans to cut funding to an anti-gang police squad in Montreal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Federal budget cuts have left the future of the specialized Montreal police Eclipse Squad, which fights organized crime, in jeopardy.

The squad was formed in 2008 to target street gang activity, drug trafficking and cybercrime. The forty-officer team patrols bars, clubs, and known gang hangouts in Montreal.

"The frontline work that they do helps prevent violent confrontation taking place on the street," said Pierre Brochet, assistant director of the Montreal police.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced the planned funding cuts in a closed-door meeting two weeks ago.  

Speaking on CBC Montreal's Daybreak on Tuesday, Brochet said he has yet to officially receive the news, but he hopes the government will find a way to continue the program.

With recent changes in leadership at the top of the Montreal mafia, Brochet says the situation on the streets is "unstable" and that Eclipse is needed more than ever.