“This is an exceptional amount allocated to the City of Montreal in response to an exceptional situation”, justified the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault.
Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
The Government of Quebec is providing an additional $250 million over five years to combat gun violence in Montreal.
This sum will notably allow the City of Montreal to hire 450 police officers over the same period, indicated the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, Saturday afternoon, during a press briefing.
Ms. Guilbault was accompanied by the Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region, Chantal Rouleau, the Mayor of the City of Montreal, Valérie Plante, and the interim director of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). ), Sophie Roy.
They wanted to speak with a strong and united voice, underlined Ms. Guilbault.
This is a strong moment, which shows that we are all together to respond easily, quickly and skillfully to the security needs of citizens, added Mayor Plante.
Gun violence has become a persistent problem in Montreal, and it's overflowing [everywhere]. That's enough, hammered Ms. Guilbault. Our citizens are worried. Their feeling of concern is there, and we understand them.
Acts of violence by firearms have indeed multiplied in the metropolis in recent months and are creating insecurity in the population. This feeling was further accentuated, according to the Minister, by the two shootings which took place in Montreal on Tuesday in broad daylight and which caused as many victims in the space of 30 minutes.
This assistance will allow the City to increase the SPVM workforce to 450 new officers who will be in the field within five years.
According to the distribution of the amounts revealed, Quebec will spend 250 million dollars over five years (i.e. 50 million per year) to strengthen the Montreal police.
Of these 50 million annual dollars, 45 million will be used to provide the SPVM with 225 additional police officers. The City plans to hire just as many, bringing to 450 the number of new officers promised for the next five years.
A sum of $5 million per year will also be used to hire 50 social workers to relieve the police of various tasks related to mental health, homelessness and drug addiction, explained Ms. Guilbault in an interview with ICI RDI in the afternoon.
Among the other measures proposed are also the return of retirees and occasional assistance from the Sûreté du Québec.
Quebec pays millions of dollars to the City of Montreal to, among other things, hire more police officers and social workers. Jérôme Bergeron talks with the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault.
It's an operation focused on visibility. What we want is for our police officers to be present on the ground, underlined the Minister of Public Security.
“Montrealers have need to feel the police presence in the streets and parks. »
— Geneviève Guilbault, Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Security
The Minister did not fail to commend the efforts made by the Government of Quebec within the framework of the #x27;operation CENTAUR, a strategy to combat gun violence.
We will intensify the operations of the CENTAUR unit, the government will be there, assured Ms. Guilbault, who believes that being a police officer in 2022 is very difficult.
The Minister of Public Security added that an agreement had been reached with the National Police Academy for the creation of 72 new places per year in its training program, in order to have more recruits available for the SPVM.
This training will begin in November and end at the end of March 2023, said the Minister in an interview, recalling that 756 people are trained annually at the National Police School, 30% of whom join the ranks of the SPVM.
Despite everything, the Minister mentioned a recruitment challenge for which the City and its police department should set up an offensive for the attraction and retention of police officers.
Upstream, will the school system, including the National Police Academy, be enough? Will there be interest among the candidates? asked retired police officer André Gélinas, in an interview with ICI RDI. In his eyes, 450 new agents is still a lot of people to find.
“How will the administration be able to to retain these people, to attract them and above all to find them? »
— André Gélinas, retired detective sergeant of the SPVM
The interim director of the SPVM, Sophie Roy, and the Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region, Chantal Rouleau
The Minister responsible for the Metropolis and the Montreal region, Chantal Rouleau, stressed during the press conference that the situation is serious and therefore requires a rapid and effective response.
“We want the climate of peace to be restored in Montreal. It is unacceptable that tragic events continue here. We want the Montreal of before: a safe and peaceful Montreal. Too much is too much. »
— Chantal Rouleau, Minister Responsible for Greater Montréal and the Montreal Region
Valérie Plante, who has recently come under heavy criticism for her handling of the fight against gun violence, welcomed the help from Quebec, as did the Brotherhood of Police Officers of Quebec. Montreal.
The latter salutes the efforts of the Government of Quebec, Montreal and the SPVM to increase police personnel and restore the population's sense of security, she declared on Twitter.
The SPVM's acting director, Sophie Roy, assured that her organization has the necessary expertise to deal with armed violence.
What we want is to protect the population and enhance their sense of security, she added. Our police officers are active in the field, they need the support of the population and their partners.
“Montreal will not be the playground criminals. »
— Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal
Our plan is clear. To fight against armed violence, we must work on three axes: controlling firearms, criminal groups and carrying out a prevention campaign, the mayor reminded.
Of the three points, the police have done a good job, but they are tired. We need them, but they need us, Ms. Plante said, acknowledging that there is still work to be done.
Some frontline responders remain skeptical of awarding millions and millions to the police.
These investments do not reach the source of the problem, namely young people involved in armed violence, denounced community worker Pierreson Vaval.
For this recipient of a medal from the Governor General of Canada in 2002, there should be better financial and political support and increased recognition of actors working with a benevolent, trusting approach to marginalized communities.
“When are we going to see millions and millions of dollars in a strategy to work on the source [of the problem] and not on the symptoms? »
—Pierreson Vaval, community worker
Mr. Vaval would instead see funding redirected so that we can […] support young people who have criminal records, who are coming out of prison, who have drug addiction or behavioral problems, or who have dropped out of school, he said. – he continued, citing the vicious circle of violence that can await the most vulnerable on the way to making a bad decision.
Mr. Vaval also apologized for the prevailing discourse which, according to him, only encourages panic and a certain hysteria in relation to this violence.
They are young people that we know, they are not extraterrestrials. They need to feel that we need them in our community, he argued.
With information from Marie Isabelle Rochon and from The Canadian Press