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Manitoba RCMP: New team created to deal with violent crime

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The Manitoba RCMP has created a new team to deal with violent crime in rural communities.

RCMP said violent crime is escalating in the province and noted that it is often run by street gangs and repeat offenders.

RCMP added that these offenders and gangs often use weapons to commit crimes and this increases the safety risk of people in the community.

In response to these crimes, the RCMP has established the Strategic Enforcement Response Team (SERT).

SERT will operate in two phases, intelligence gathering and data analysis, and implementation.

Intelligence gathering and data analysis will see frontline officers gather information on crimes and offenders and enter them into RCMP databases.

This information will then be analyzed by SERT who will “look for patterns in a specific community that is seeing an increase in violent crime”.

This information is then passed to Major Crime Services who will continue to gather information and search warrants may also be obtained during this time.

The RCMP has established the Strategic Enforcement Response Team (SERT) to respond to violent crime in rural Manitoba

On the enforcement side, a plan will be created so that local detachments are adequately resourced to execute search and arrest warrants, as well as compliance checks on offenders.

“SERT is about being intelligence-led and data-driven. When SERT is deployed, it means we’ve identified a problem, we’ve determined what or who is driving that issue, and we’re going to take action concrete to stop that issue.” said Supt. Scott McMurchy.

Kelvin Goertzen, Manitoba’s justice minister, said the province is working to reduce violent crime and the fact that the RCMP is using an intelligence-led plan is a big step toward stopping crime.

“The traffickers traveling between major urban centers and rural Manitoba can only be stopped with this level of collaboration and cooperation,” said Goertzen.

RCMP said the first SERT deployment happened in Moose Lake, Man. from July 20 to 22.

The area was chosen because of an increase in violent crime, homicides, gunshot calls, and street gang activity.

While there, officers were able to arrest Agel Awak Agnek, 21, of Winnipeg, as well as a 16-year-old male from Calgary while executing a search warrant.

They were each charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of proceeds of crime under $5,000.

A second search warrant at another home in the area helped police discover a bow and ammunition. The police were also able to seize a firearm.

The RCMP also conducted 75 searches on people with court-imposed conditions or arrest warrants. After these controls, seven people were arrested for not fulfilling their conditions and two were arrested for outstanding mandates.

RCMP said one of the individuals was among “the most prolific offenders in Moose Lake.”

After the SERT team left the area, RCMP officers were able to arrest and charge five people with several drug and firearms offences. Police also found a handgun, an extended magazine and cocaine.

RCMP said the five men were linked to the drug trafficking ring in Moose Lake, as well as ties to street gangs in northern Manitoba.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

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