Saskatchewan introduces new police team focusing on trafficking

The Saskatchewan government introduced a new policing initiative that will target gang-related criminal activity that comes into the province through trafficking corridors.

A press release from the government said the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT — pronounced Start) is a “specialized intelligence-led enforcement team dedicated to addressing illegal weapons, drugs and human trafficking.”

“The criminal activity that threatens public safety is oftentimes tied to the evolution of organized street gangs,” said Christine Tell, corrections, policing and public safety minister.

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Tell said STRT will investigate illegal weapons, dangerous substances, and human trafficking entering the province through trafficking corridors.

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The team will include 30 RCMP officers, six municipal police officers, two crime analysts, and three support staff.

STRT will have three offices “strategically located” in Lloydminster, Estevan and Swift Current, all cities close to borders and established trafficking corridors, the government said.

Municipal STRT resources will be located in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.

“The team will be mobile and ready to deploy anywhere in the province to support other RCMP units and detachments, municipal police services, and intelligence and enforcement teams, in Saskatchewan as well as in Alberta and Manitoba,” the government said.

Read more: 6 charged, 7 victims rescued in Toronto-area human trafficking investigation, police say

The initiative will cost $2.1 million for 2021-2022 and about $6.4 million annually in each subsequent fiscal year.

The government said this is “entirely new funding” and no resources have been reallocated from other policing initiatives.

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