Montreal can now face armed violence, says Minister Bonnardel

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Montréal can now face armed violence, says Minister Bonnardel

François Bonnardel now wants to see results on the sidelines of the rise in armed violence that has been observed for two weeks.

Minister of Public Security , François Bonnardel, with the head of the SPVM, Fady Dagher.

In an interview with Radio-Canada, the Quebec Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, believes that his government has provided in recent months all the tools necessary for the City of Montreal so that it can effectively fight against armed violence.

There is no government that has done so much to support the [Service de police de la Ville de Montréal] (SPVM). It is the largest police force with the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). What we have given are means that allow director Fady Dagher to have additional police officers to counter armed violence, said François Bonnardel.

In the past 14 days in Greater Montreal, two 18- and 21-year-olds were shot and killed, then two 16-year-olds and a young man were stabbed. This is without taking into account the attempted murder by bullets or the shots aimed at private residences which occupied the SPVM police officers.

I understand, like you, that since the last days, there is an upsurge [in armed violence]. Now, all the tools are there to have the police to reassure the population and support those who are already on the ground, he added.

The minister does not hide that he expects to see results on the ground when, according to our police sources, criminal intelligence at the SPVM indicates that the summer season could set the tone for new outbreaks of violence army.

“It's a fight [against armed violence] that is important to reassure the population, to secure our streets. And to give tools to Montreal to say: "Here is what we have for you. Now it's up to you to respond and deliver the goods.” »

— François Bonnardel, Quebec Minister of Public Security

Minister François Bonnardel believes that the Government of Quebec has given all the tools in Montreal to get involved in the fight against armed violence.

Over the past seven months, millions of dollars and legislative changes to the Police Act have followed one another in favor of recruiting police officers for the metropolis.

Bill 14 recently filed by François Bonnardel will allow the SPVM to hire civilians with expertise relevant to the police environment.

The model resembles that adopted by the FBI in the United States, where professionals without police experience become agents in specific fields of expertise.

In Quebec, it will be a first for a police force.

This is a first in Quebec in order to offer the necessary flexibility to the Montreal police to recruit civilians as police officers to support specialized criminal investigations, such as cybercrime, Bonnardel explains.

But the most concrete short-term benefit for increasing the police presence on the streets of Montreal is undoubtedly the graduation of the first 72 police cadets who formed the first cohort of recruits exclusive to the SPVM.

These future police officers will be on duty starting next week in the streets of Montreal.

This represents an annual investment of three million dollars in order to set up this new cohort, mentions Mr. Bonnardel, who attended the graduation ceremony.

The first cohort reserved for the SPVM has officially received its diploma at the École nationale de police du Québec, in Nicolet.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Public Security announced that the Attestation of Collegial Studies (AEC) program for recruiting minority candidates had been expanded to allow the hiring of 140 police officers. to conventional status throughout Quebec, bringing the total to 230.

Of this number, 105 are intended for the SPVM.

Always at the provincial level, the capacity to train police officers annually will increase from 650 to 1000 recruits as of 2024, at the National Police School of Quebec (ENPQ).

The SPVM will also benefit from the increase in this pool of recruits.

Thus 350 more police officers will be trained annually. Usually, the SPVM comes to hire 30% of all ENPQ graduates, estimates the Minister of Public Security.

Before the start of the last campaign provincial election, in August 2022, the City of Montreal was granted an envelope of $225 million over five years.

This money will make it possible to add 225 police officers [au net] to the ranks of the SPVM, explains François Bonnardel.

An additional envelope of 25 million, also over five years, had been announced for prevention and the community.

Projects such as the Mobile Mediation and Social Intervention Team (EMMIS) will be able to take advantage of the addition of social workers well beyond the Ville-Marie borough.

The return of the summer season could set the tone for waves of armed violence in certain sectors of the metropolis. (File photo)

Finally, $150 million has already been injected by the Quebec government into the national strategy CENTAURE, whose mission is to stop firearms trafficking. This envelope allows Montreal to finance several specialized SPVM teams to combat armed violence.

There are mixed teams of police officers from the SQ, Montreal and Laval who are present weekdays and weekends in the field. The problem of armed violence is not going to disappear tomorrow morning, we must continue to put police officers on the ground with the means we have given ourselves, says the Minister of Public Security.

Would the government be prepared to loosen the purse strings further if the City of Montreal asked for more money and resources in the coming months?

The tools are all there. Now, we have to reassure our population and do the work, Mr. Bonnardel concludes.

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