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Manitoba funds training, equipment for Winnipeg cops’ firearm investigations

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg police receive provincial funding for firearms tracing' Winnipeg police receive provincial funding for firearms tracing
Inspector Elton Hall of the Winnipeg Police Service's Organized Crime Division spoke on Tuesday about provincial funding for new equipment and training that will be used in firearms tracing. The province's $17,000 investment will provide investigators with a safe workspace to recover obliterated serial numbers on seized firearms. According to police, 859 crime-related guns were seized last year in Winnipeg – Aug 16, 2022

The provincial government is funding Winnipeg police training and equipment to the tune of $17,000, via the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund, Manitoba’s justice minister announced Tuesday.

Kelvin Goertzen said the money will help city cops better track and restore serial numbers from seized firearms, and will be used to create a safe workspace environment for firearms investigations and training.

“The ability to restore serial numbers from seized firearms will provide valuable, timely information to officers investigating firearm-related crimes including shootings and firearm trafficking,” said Goertzen.

“This funding will help investigators trace the origin of firearms, identify suspects and determine how criminals are illegally acquiring firearms. This important work will lead to the removal of firearms from the streets of Winnipeg, and to the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators, which will make our city safer.”

Read more: 6 Winnipeg men facing charges after firearms spotted in social media video

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Insp. Elton Hall, officer-in-charge of the organized crime division, said Tuesday that Winnipeg police have been working on restoring serial numbers to guns used in the commission of crime for years now, beginning as a 2010 pilot project before becoming an official unit — the firearms investigative analysis section — within the police service.

“Any firearm with its serial number obliterated is a crime gun and is a trademark of a smuggled or trafficked firearm that is used for a criminal purpose,” Hall said.

“Removing the serial number is done in order to prevent tracing of the firearm and allows smuggling and trafficking groups to remain active.”

According to police, 859 crime-related guns were seized last year — a significant increase over the 721 the previous year.

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