McGuinty Government Cracks Down On Crime In London



    Initiatives Target Guns And Gangs, Organized Crime And Illegal Drugs

    LONDON, ON, Aug. 13 /CNW/ - London residents are safer today as a result
of the McGuinty government's investments to target guns, gangs and organized
crime, Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter said
today.
    "This investment will go a long way to combating the spread of guns and
gangs in London and Ontario. It sends a clear signal that the McGuinty
government will not tolerate illegal activities," said Khalil Ramal,
London-Fanshawe MPP.
    The $510,000 in new investment for the London Police Service is part of a
$12-million anti-crime package announced recently by Premier Dalton McGuinty.
The London Police Service will use the funding for the second phase of Project
Disarm to continue to address crime-related gang activities.
    "Guns, gangs and illegal drugs have no place in our communities," Kwinter
said. "We will continue to work with our policing partners to rid Ontario of
drug labs and grow operations and to protect our citizens."
    "I am extremely pleased to see that the provincial government has come to
the aid of municipal police services who are tackling the guns and gang issue
which is not just municipal or regional but also provincial and national,"
said London Police Chief Murray Faulkner. "The funds received today will
extend Project Disarm for at least a year and will help take weapons and drugs
off our streets thus making our city and region safer."

    
    The McGuinty government's new anti-crime package includes:

    -   A crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) elimination project that
        includes funding for an additional nine Ontario Provincial Police
        (OPP) officers
    -   Increasing the capacity of the Office of the Fire Marshal to
        investigate fires and explosions caused by methamphetamine labs and
        marijuana grow operations
    -   Creating a Provincial Task Force on marijuana grow operations
    -   Enhancing the capacity of the OPP and municipal police services to
        identify, locate, seize and forfeit the illegal gains from criminal
        organizations.
    

    These initiatives build upon the government's 2006 guns and gangs
strategy. Highlights of the measures undertaken by the McGuinty government to
ensure safer communities include:

    
    -   1,000 new officers for Ontario police services
    -   The Youth Opportunities Strategy to help young people faced with
        challenges achieve success
    -   A new operations centre for the Guns and Gangs Task Force - the first
        of its kind in North America
    -   $1 million for Perth County to combat the proliferation of crystal
        meth laboratories
    

    "Tackling gun crimes is a complex challenge - and criminal gangs are
always adapting and evolving," said Kwinter. "Our strategy is working but we
need to keep up the pressure by being tough on gun crime, targeting gangs and
providing young people with positive alternatives to gang culture."

    
    Disponible en français
                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
               MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT TAKES AIM AT GUNS AND GANGS,
                      ORGANIZED CRIME AND ILLEGAL DRUGS
    

    On June 6, Premier McGuinty announced the government's new anti-crime
package, which included expanding Ontario's highly successful guns and gangs
project to combat violence and build safer communities for Ontario citizens.
    Over two years, the McGuinty government has invested $68 million to crack
down on guns, gangs, illegal drugs and other criminal activities. Building on
the success of last year's $51-million provincewide investment, this year the
government is investing over $17 million to help Ontario communities target
crime and violence.

    
    The initiatives announced by Premier McGuinty on June 6 will:

    -   Target Crystal Methamphetamine Labs ($2.0 Million)

        Illicit methamphetamine (crystal meth) labs pose health and safety
        risks to Ontario citizens. Since June 2006, six super labs have been
        dismantled in Ontario (Durham, Peel, Sault Ste. Marie area, Stokes
        Bay and Haliburton). A new team of specially trained officers will
        supplement the Ontario Provincial Police Drug Enforcement Section by
        providing expertise in dismantling crystal meth labs and targeting
        the criminal organizations that operate them. The Office of the Fire
        Marshal is also being given additional resources to meet the
        increasing demands for fire and explosion investigations and for the
        training and education of police and fire services that is needed
        because of the spread of crystal meth labs.

    -   Implement an Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy in Targeted
        Communities ($11.3 Million)

        The government will invest $11.3 million in 2007 to continue
        Toronto's Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy and to support police
        services in Golden Horseshoe communities (Brantford, Halton,
        Hamilton, Niagara), Essex County (Amherstburg, LaSalle, Windsor),
        Durham, Kenora, London, Ottawa, Peel, Thunder Bay, Waterloo and York
        Region. These communities are developing local anti-crime initiatives
        based on the Toronto model.

    -   Create a Task Force on Marijuana Grow Operations ($800,000 in Annual
        Funding)

        The community safety hazards of marijuana grow operations call for
        dedicated resources. The new advisory group will develop methods to
        reduce the risks to public safety from marijuana grow operations.
        Through additional resources, the Office of the Fire Marshal will
        provide increased training to help reduce the risks to health and
        safety for police and fire services arising from marijuana grow
        operations.

    -   Expand the Ontario Provincial Police Asset Forfeiture Unit
        ($1.0 Million)

        This will enhance the capacity of the Ontario Provincial Police
        working with municipal police to identify, locate and seize the
        illegal gains from criminal organizations, and seek their forfeiture
        through the courts.

    -   Improve Intelligence Gathering ($900,000)

        A new Intelligence Unit will help identify gang members and reduce
        the potential for criminal activity in Ontario.

    -   Provide Additional Support for Crown Attorneys ($1.4 Million)

        This support will improve response to gun crimes, with Crowns working
        with police from day one of an investigation on matters including
        seizures, wiretaps, search warrants and other investigative
        requirements.


    Contact:
    Anthony Brown
    Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
    416-314-7772

    Disponible en français
                           www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Annette Phillips, Minister's Office, (416)
326-8265, (647) 205-6598 (cellular); Anthony Brown, Communications Branch,
(416) 314-7772

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Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

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