The “Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime” strategy, formerly known as the “Saskatchewan Policing and Partners Strategy” began in 2010, following an initiative by the government and police leaders across the province to develop a new “Future of Policing (FOP)” strategy, to meet the needs of a changing Saskatchewan and to address the growing issue of crime and violence in the province.
One of the main findings of the FOP research report was that the only way to be effective, and the only way to reduce violent crime and improve community safety, was to look more broadly at the contributing social factors.
The Government of Saskatchewan acted quickly on this FOP Report, and in May of 2010, nine ministries joined with the province’s eight largest police services in making a chartered commitment to ‘cross government’ approach.
Although the initial concept for a Community Mobilization model came from Prince Albert in advance of the formation of the BPRC, the realization of the model is largely based on the conceptual alignment and support provided by the BPRC strategy. Based on a Scottish example and initially adapted to meet the needs of PA, it can be tailored to suit the need of any community in our province or across the country when facing similar patterns of elevated risk among its citizens.
The CMPA initiative is of key importance in the history of Saskatchewan and in the country, as this strategy may truly be the first of its kind in its approach to crime reduction. This cross-government and partnership approach to crime and violence is not seen as a policing issue, but as a social wellness issue shared across other human services ministries. The project is a strong example of a shift in thinking and action, however is still a learning process.
The Saskatchewan Child and Family Agenda (SCFA) was also established in 2010 to provide a cross-government response to child, youth and family issues. It has been recognized that the BPRC shares many common points of intersection, including, but not limited to, common clients, an underlying theme, evidence-based approaches, engagement with First Nations and Métis people, and a need for government to do things differently.
Saskatchewan is truly demonstrating strong leadership on these fronts, but for these strategies to be effective in the long run the public, partners and stakeholders all need to work together with a shared commitment to the shift in thinking which is taking place.