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Coronavirus: Winnipeg police predict photo radar revenue drop

Winnipeg Police Service’s photo radar revenue plummets
With so many fewer vehicles on the road, the Winnipeg Police Service says it's missing out on millions of dollars in revenue. As Global's Joe Scarpelli explains, the news leaves some wondering why the money is part of revenue streams in the first place.

A new Winnipeg Police Board report predicts photo radar revenue will be down nearly $7 million by the end of the year as a result of less traffic on city streets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winnipeg police expect to collect $6.9 million less from photo radar tickets, while losing another $2 million from traditional enforcement.

Coun. Kevin Klein, chair of the Winnipeg Police Board, said he’s not surprised by the estimated drop in revenue.

“I think it does raise a valid point,” Klein said. “Why do we assign revenue to a police service?”

READ MORE: Winnipeg cop accused of erasing own speeding ticket; already facing assault, weapons charges

Instead of using money collected from photo radar to help fund the police service, Klein said he’d rather see that money go towards improving road safety.

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“People see a budget number on the police service and think, ‘Well, they have to hit that or they have to make cuts,'” he said.

“Where it should go is directly to a traffic safety program that we have in the city. Maybe flashing amber lights in school zones.”

READ MORE: Police not enforcing school zone speed limits as classes cancelled for coronavirus

While police chief Danny Smyth admitted the budget is a concern, he said Tuesday he isn’t considering making cuts at the moment.

“At this point, I have no indication that I’ll be considering any layoffs,” Smyth said.

Dealing with traffic tickets during COVID-19
Dealing with traffic tickets during COVID-19

In March, Winnipeg police stopped enforcing the 30 km/h reduced speed limit in school zones, but resumed enforcement this week.

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Coun. Scott Gillingham, chair of the finance committee, said there is relief for police and other departments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the city’s crisis cash flow management plan.

“Not only will we likely be assisting departments with the financial stabilization reserve, but part of the cash flow management plan has also requested that departments do all they can to curb their spending and to control costs,” Gillingham said.

Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba examining resuming schools this year with some adjustments
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba examining resuming schools this year with some adjustments