FIVE new prosecutors and two administrative support staff have been hired as part of the B.C. Prosecution Service’s organized crime unit to help tackle gun and gang violence in the province.
Additional staff focusing specifically on organized crimes allow the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) to increase its capacity to prosecute people charged with gang and gun crimes.
“We need to make sure the B.C. Prosecution Service is well staffed to tackle these complex cases,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “These seven new personnel mean there are additional resources dedicated to the fair and effective prosecution of gang and organized crime files.”
Two of the five new prosecutors were hired in April 2021. Others were hired in 2020.
One additional legal assistant was hired in 2021, and a new paralegal was hired in 2020.
“Organized crime, gun violence and other gang activities impact so many communities across B.C.,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Our government’s multi-pronged approach to tackling gun and gang violence will continue to help ensure our communities are safe.”
The hiring of new BCPS personnel was made possible as part of a $30.5-million contribution over five years from the Government of Canada to tackle gun and gang violence in this province. Of this, $3.65 million over three years has been allocated for the recruitment and operation of the organized crime unit.
To tackle gun and gang violence in B.C., government, through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is also:
* implementing the Firearm Violence Prevention Act, which addresses enforcement gaps in existing legislation;
* opening the new B.C. provincial forensic firearms laboratory, the first centralized illegal firearms intelligence hub in B.C.; and
* allocating permanent funding in Budget 2021 of $7.6 million for policing initiatives, including the Gang Suppression Action Plan.
The BCPS promotes public safety, justice and respect for the rule of law by making principled charge assessment decisions and conducting fair and effective prosecutions and appeals. In making its prosecutorial decisions, the BCPS acts independently of police and government.