Quebec adds $90 million to tackle gun violence, launches Operation Centaur

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MONTREAL — The Quebec government will spend another $90 million to hire more than 100 police officers and experts to fight gun-related crime, Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said Friday.

Guilbault, surrounded by members of Quebec's various police forces at a news conference in Montreal, said the government's newest initiative to reduce gun violence and gun trafficking will be called Operation Centaur.

The money will go toward new equipment and hiring 107 officers and other crime experts who will staff specialized units in police forces across the province and conduct investigations in an effort to disrupt gun-trafficking networks.

"We are sending one message with one strong voice to say that firearms violence, violence that disturbs and worries our citizens and our families, in Montreal … and throughout Quebec — we've had enough," she said.

The new police operation was announced following a series of recent high-profile shootings in the greater Montreal area involving organized criminals and street gangs. Guilbault said the number of attempted gun-related murders in the Montreal area has quadrupled between 2016 and 2020.

She said Operation Centaur has four main elements: reinforcing police forces with specialized units, disrupting firearms trafficking, increasing knowledge about gun-related violence and preventing crime. She said the operation is based on the Wolverine squad the province created in 1995 to fight motorcycle gangs.

She said provincial police will co-ordinate the operation with the rest of Quebec's police forces, adding that other forces, including the RCMP, First Nations police services and the United States Department of Homeland Security will also take part.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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