Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Harper government's law and order agenda ignoring real police needs

OTTAWA – The Harper government’s so-called tough-on-crime agenda has ignored the real challenges facing the RCMP and frontline police officers, putting public and officer safety at risk, Liberal Public Safety Critic Mark Holland said yesterday.
“While the Conservatives doggedly pursue an American-style approach to prisons and punishment, they are failing our police and RCMP officers by ignoring their front-line needs,” said Mr. Holland.
The Auditor General has reported a $620-million shortfall for the RCMP to bring its technology up to par.  As she reported, RCMP radio systems are so old, for example, they are unable to support current security and privacy requirements. This, according to police, “increases the risk to police and public safety and could lead to injury or death.” (Chapter 1, pg. 12-13)
“The government has known about this crumbling IT infrastructure since it came into office,” said Mr. Holland. “It was first outlined in a Treasury Board report handed to them when they were elected, and the Prime Minister’s own Advisory Committee on the Public Service was told in February 2009 that IT systems are inadequate.
“This government can talk all it wants about being ‘tough on crime,’ but actions speak louder than words. As the Conservatives waste billions of dollars on measures that will require new prisons to be built, experience has shown that this U.S.-style approach to crime does nothing to reduce crime.
“At the same time, the Canadian Police Association has pointed out that municipal police forces across the country are being saddled with the extra costs associated with the Conservatives’ law-and-order agenda. The bottom line is that Stephen Harper should be looking at the real needs of police and victims instead of wasting funds on failed crime policies,” he said.
While the government continues to neglect the needs of police, their members attack officers who defend the gun registry. Only this week, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz compared Canada’s police chiefs to a “cult” and smeared them with accusations of corruption.
“Our police officers deserve better than this. They deserve to be equipped with the best technology so they can properly do their job of protecting the public,” said Mr. Holland.

Liberals are working to stop crime and make communities safer

Liberals are working today on Parliament Hill by hosting a roundtable and public forum on crime and community safety, focusing on successful, innovative solutions that communities are using to reduce crime.
“Our goal is to stop crime before it occurs,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who attended today’s panel. “The Harper government’s ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric is the furthest thing from the open and honest debate we need to create safer communities.”
The roundtable and public forum will hear from leading experts in the area of crime prevention, including law enforcement officials, academics, and community organizations that deal first hand with effects of crime. Ottawa Police Chief Vern White will be on hand to talk about some of his police force’s successful crime-fighting initiatives, including the Direct Action Response Team (DART), which has proven to be the most successful approach in eradicating gang culture and gang violence. Community representatives from across the country have been invited to take part in the discussion, to share their experiences and ask questions of the experts and Parliamentarians.
“Solutions to reduce crime, prevent victimization and enhance community safety are out there, and lawmakers just need to listen,” said Liberal Public Safety and National Security Critic Mark Holland. “The Harper government has closed their ears, insisting instead on adopting discredited Republican policies that put more people in prison for longer at exorbitant expense to the taxpayer. If we look south to the United States, we can see that these same policies are being abandoned because they have failed to reduce crime and bankrupted the public purse.”
“We believe that there must be appropriate sentences for serious crimes,” said Liberal Justice Critic Dominic Leblanc. “But unlike the Conservative government, Liberals don’t think the solution is to build super prisons that create more dangerous criminals, perpetuating an endless cycle of victimization, as they are recycled through our justice system.”

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