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Province promises $12.3 million in new funding for Waterloo Regional Police

The main entrance to the Waterloo Regional Police Service's headquarters in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

The Ontario government says it will provide Waterloo Regional Police $12.3 million in new funding over the next three years in a bid to help fight crime.

Locally, $9.3 million is earmarked for the Community Engagement and Wellbeing Branch (CEWB) with the Crisis Call Diversion Program, while $1.5 million will go to the Gang and Hate Crime Intelligence and Enforcement Initiative and the other $1.5 million will go to the police services board.

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“Supporting our community by ensuring people can access the right services at the right time is critical and this funding will help in doing just that,” Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry stated.

“By embedding mental health professionals in initial interactions, Waterloo Region Police can offer assistance in connecting the dots for many at their most vulnerable, in turn creating a more supportive and safe community for all.”

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The money is coming from a pool of $267 million that the Ford government is doling out to 90 police forces across the province.

The province says the money is intended for public safety initiatives focusing on gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment, human trafficking, mental health and addictions, and hate-motivated crime.

“Community safety is a top priority, and our government has been strengthening our justice system to protect communities and hold offenders accountable,” solicitor general Sylvia Jones stated.

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The Ford government says the local forces will partner with community groups in many of the programs.

Local police services will be required to provide progress reports to the province semi-annually for the programs the money will support.

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