Repeat offenders are in the crosshairs of the new head of a province-wide task force on crime.

Former New Brunswick Crown prosecutor Bill Wister, flanked by senior Alberta law enforcement figures, was introduced as head of the Safe Communities Secretariat yesterday. The group was created to co-ordinate and implement the recommendations of the Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force aimed at making Alberta a safer place to live.

The Alberta government has set aside $468 million for these recommendations and an additional $33 million to build government-owned addiction treatment facilities.


One of the 30 recommendations is a set of province-wide criteria to identify repeat offenders and find ways to better deal with them.

“We have very clear goals,” Wister said. “We want to make an impact [on the repeat offenders].”

Edmonton Police Chief Mike Boyd said he’s enthusiastic about these recommendations, which he thinks will help eliminate the “catch and release” pattern with repeat offenders.

“I think that’s where we gain protection of the public, instead of that recycling and the revolving door,” said Boyd.

Other actions by the task force underway include Crown prosecutors at bail hearings and hurrying the process for prosecutors to help reduce lead time to trial.

The Secretariat is made of staff from nine different ministries of government including Education, Municipal Affairs and others.

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