Canada: Regina mayor wants to work with province on prostitution

Stephanie Flegel


REGINA — The premier and some members of his caucus can expect a phone call from Mayor Pat Fiacco in the near future with an idea to create an anti-prostitution initiative.

The mayor initiated a motion at the Board of Police Commissioners meeting Friday to create a partnership with the provincial government to address prostitution.

The motion was passed at the meeting and Fiacco committed to contacting Premier Brad Wall, as well as the ministers of justice, social services and other related ministries in the near future.

“There isn’t a police force in the country that has the resources to monitor prostitution 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So we need to think about a strategy,” said Fiacco.

The crime statistics report issued Friday, which compares reported crime rates from Jan. 1, 1998 to Dec. 31, 2007, show a 40.3-per-cent decrease in prostitution over the decade, with a 16.3-per-cent decrease in 2007 over the previous year.

Although the numbers for prostitution were down, the board of commissioners said the numbers are highly linked to enforcement and would in fact be much higher if the Regina Police Service (RPS) had the manpower to police this crime more consistently.

“If we were enforcing (prostitution) every week, the numbers would be far greater than they are now and we can’t just sit here and think about writing this segment of society off,” said Fiacco.

“We would be very supportive of working with our provincial government partners,” added Acting Chief of Police Troy Hagen.

Fiacco said he would like to see an initiative similar to the auto-theft strategy which came into effect in 2002. The mayor said the statistics show the auto-theft program has had a significant impact on the number of cars being stolen in Regina and the individuals who were involved in the crimes have been given a second chance through counselling.

“Enforcement isn’t about doing a bad thing, it is about helping these individuals and giving them a second chance,” said Fiacco.

The proposed program would deal with the social issues that surround prostitution and not just focus on the police enforcement issue, said Fiacco. The board of commissioners said this program will likely have a positive overall effect on controlled drug and substance offences as well, which according to the crime statistics were up 31.4 per cent since 1998.

Fiacco explained the city does not have a social services department, but Regina residents do pay the price for not having these type of social issues taken care of in the community.

“I think we can really help … It is the right thing to do and I know that the province will partner with us,” said Fiacco.

The board of commissioners also discussed the issue of grow-ops in the city and Hagen had some suggestions for how the public can assist police in enforcing the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Residents need to be aware of who their neighbours are, no matter what part of the city they live in, said Hagen. People also need to be aware of homes with tin foil or darkened window coverings as well as increased foot traffic of people who do not reside in the home.

Residents were advised to contact the RPS or Crime Stoppers if they notice any suspicious activity.

Fiacco also mentioned at the meeting that an announcement on the new police chief to replace the retired Cal Johnston will take place in the next few weeks. The mayor said the city has received a wealth of qualified applicants from across the country as well as internally at the RPS.

© Leader-Post 2008

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