WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg police have added a new set of wheels to its fleet.
Police unveiled its $343,000 armoured rescue vehicle (ARV1) Wednesday morning.
The Gurkha MPV tactical vehicle is bullet-proof, blast-proof and weighs around four times as much as a normal car (15,000 lbs). Heavy, but fast. It cane travel more than 100km/hour. Although police say they don’t expect to take such a heavy vehicle past that speed.
Police said it’s a much needed tool for officer and public safety. “This does bring us in line with other services across the country, most services have this capability,” WPS Superintendent Gord Perrier said.
“On a general threshold it’s about weapons, if weapons are present this is where that vehicle will come into play,” Perrier said.
The tactical vehicle is also used in other Canadian cities such as Toronto, Calgary and Hamilton. Calgary Police Service said it has been using an ARV since 2008 and on average it has been called to 30-35 incidents per month. They also have a second ARV being purchased soon.
Constable Adam Cheadle with the Tactical Support Team said the risks in Winnipeg are growing and therefore so is the necessity for ARV1.
“Whether it’s firearms incidents, or higher risk, it is increasing yearly. So, its potential of being used is great than years past,” Cheadle said.
A Criminologist at the University of Manitoba agrees, saying it is an important tool for protecting police and the community. But, he questions whether an armed rescue vehicle of this magnitude is necessary.
“Something like body cameras would be far more utilized day to day on a very routine basis than an armoured vehicle like this one,” said Frank Cormier from the University of Manitoba.
The new set of wheels are set to be in full function by as early as Canada Day.