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Prince George to house team targeting repeat violent offenders

A dozen teams expected to be in place across the province by early May

Prince George is to be among a dozen "hubs" across the province where the B.C. government plans to have teams of prosecutors, parole officers and police targeting repeat violent offenders up and running by early May.

Announced last week, the provincial government says it has put $25 million over three years toward the effort.

In all, it aims to have 21 Crown counsel and 21 support staff in place by the end of this month with two of those Crown counsel based in Prince George.

In turn B.C. Corrections is looking at mid-April to identify nine correctional supervisors, nine probation officers based in correctional centres for "enhanced release planning," 12 probation officers based in community corrections offices to support the teams and four officials to "develop, co-ordinate and evaluate the program."

As for police, the Ministry of Public Safety said the ministry is "working closely with police" and is "confident" police across the province will have made the necessary preparations to fully participate by the end of April.

The aim is to provide "enhanced investigation, enforcement and monitoring of individuals," with a history of committing violent offences and will be "structured to meet the unique needs of each community and designed to work with local community stakeholders and other existing programs," the Ministry of Pubic Safety said in a statement.

"Activities for operational readiness will occur throughout April with operational start dates for hubs expected in early May," the ministry said.

B.C. Liberal opposition public safety critic Mike Morris said it is a step that should have been taken three or four years ago.

"We would have had fully-functioning teams up and running and in place by now and probably would be far fewer and less victims of crime," Morris said.