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Police squads bracing for personnel cuts after federal program expires

The windup of a federal program that was aimed at putting more cops on the street is threatening anti-gang squads and aboriginal police and could stretch existing police resources across the country, law enforcement officials say.

The Police Officer Recruitment Fund was set up in 2008 with the aim of adding 2,500 more police officers in Canada.

The federal government budgeted $400 million for the fund as part of its tough-on-crime agenda.

Provinces were given the responsibility of deciding how to spend the money and the two most populous ones received the biggest share, with $156 million going to Ontario and $92.3 million to Quebec.

In Quebec, several regional organized-crime squads were set up as well as Project Eclipse, a Montreal city police unit originally targeting street gangs which has since had its mandate widened to focus on organized crime. The force's cyber-crime squad has also been beefed up.

That eclipse squad is one of the units fighting a renewal of Mob violence linked to a power struggle in the Montreal Mafia.

Now its future is in doubt, as the program ends in March.

The Canadian Press


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