Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker has announced that police services of Owen Sound, West Grey, Hanover, Neyaashiinigmiing and Saugeen Shores will receive $315,260 to fight human trafficking.
The funding is part of the Ontario government’s recent announcement of an investment of more than $6 million over the next three years to help combat crime and build safer communities in Ontario.
The Proceeds of Crime Front-line Policing (POC-FLP) Grant re-purposes funds forfeited during criminal prosecutions and helps local police fight gun and gang crime, human trafficking and sexual violence.
“By cutting off the resources of these crooks and redirecting that money to our brave men and women in uniform, we will ensure our police can keep our streets safe and put violent criminals behind bars where they belong,” said Premier Ford. “Thanks to the relentless work of police forces across the province, we’re able to deliver $6 million more to help combat the most heinous crimes, including gun and gang violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking.”
The Police Services of Owen Sound, West Grey, Hanover, Neyaashiinigmiing and Saugeen Shores in Huron-Bruce will, in partnership with support agencies, collaborate, investigate, and improve upon victim support services for survivors of human trafficking (HT) and enhance the prosecution of those responsible for sexual exploitation crimes throughout their catchment areas.
“To promote public safety and fight crime in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, we are providing our frontline police and community partners with the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Walker. “Any time we have the opportunity to take away the resources criminals use to commit a crime, we should seize it, and with this grant program, that’s exactly what we are doing.”
“I believe re-investing the proceeds of crime into programs that help keep our streets safe is the best way to spend these funds,” said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. “I applaud Saugeen Shores Police Services for their forward thinking on this issue.”
“We are delighted with being provided the necessary funds for training and investigations through the Proceeds of Crime Grant and to be partnering with our neighbouring Police Services to jointly combat this cross jurisdictional issue in our communities,” said Saugeen Shores Police Chief Mike Bellai.
“Crime should not pay and that is why we are standing up against criminals who prey on Ontario communities for profit,” said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. “We are working with law-enforcement and their community partners to protect the people of Ontario through this investment to ramp up the fight against guns and gangs, human trafficking and sexual violence.”
“We know that members of our communities are being victimized by human trafficking and these additional funds will go a long way toward enhancing our ability to help these victims and bring those that prey on them to justice,” said Owen Sound Police Chief Craig Ambrose.
“This partnership is just another example of the excellent working relationship between our area police services and community partners as we work together to make our communities safer,” said Hanover Police Chief Chris Knoll.
“The West Grey Police are pleased to receive this funding to enhance our training to deal with and investigate Human Trafficking and to partner with our partner police agencies in Grey-Bruce to battle this crime,” said West Grey Police Chief Rob Martin.
This investment builds on Ontario’s province-wide strategy to fight gun and gang violence as well as its new comprehensive strategy to combat human trafficking.
The investment will be made over a three-year period from 2020-21 to 2022-23 and to receive funding, police services that applied had to partner with at least two community organizations from different sectors to encourage multi-sectoral collaboration.