The Toronto Police Integrated Guns & Gangs Task Force, often referred to as simply Guns & Gangs or G & G, is an initiative to designed to reduce organized crime with a focus on gun violence and disrupting drug trafficking. The Guns & Gangs task force is made up of police officers, crown attorneys and support staff.
They work closely with other regional gun and gang units and with the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET), an anti-terrorism organization.
The task force was launched in January 2004. It designated a Crown attorney to work directly with the police. The attorney’s task is to give legal advice early in the investigation and prosecution of gang and gun-related cases.
Response to Toronto’s Spike in Gun Violence
This year, there has been a spike in gun violence in Toronto. The Department of Public Safety that 65% of gun homicides in Toronto are related to gangs or gang activity. As a result, the Toronto government is doubling down on the Integrated Gun & Gang Task Force.
Premier Doug Ford recently announced a $25 million increase in funding to combat gun and gang-related violence. In large part, this will go towards the G&G.
The goal of this expansion is to increase presence and abilities in “priority areas” identified by Chief of Police Mark Saunders. This will help the city increase its ability to arrest and prosecute those living in these selected areas.
Effects of Media & Expanded Spending on Gun & Gang Task Force
The media has increased public pressure to find a quick solution to guns and gang-related crime in Toronto. Instead of addressing potential causes, like cutting back on community funding and programs, the approach has been reactionary.
One of the unfortunate effects, at least anecdotally, is that courts have found it easier to justify denying reasonable bail for firearm-8related offences. This only serves to further contribute to the problems related to pre-trial detention in Ontario and across Canada. Even though the general approach is supposed to favour granting bail, half the people in provincial jails haven’t been convicted.
Being held in custody until the courts ultimately resolve outstanding charges often costs more than just losing your freedom. For many it means missing out on work, losing employment opportunities and severe financial hardship. Every year, Canadians go bankrupt, or risk losing everything they worked for, waiting for their trial to begin. As a result, some people waive their right to a trial, abandon their Charter rights and choose to take early plea agreements.
Top criminal defence lawyers will attempt to find ways to improve your odds of being granted bail. Taking advantage of ankle bracelets through programs like Recovery Science can decrease court justifications for bail risks. Although they increase monitoring and detection of breaches, GPS ankle bracelets strengthen the bail release plan and increase the likelihood of release.
As well, anyone connected to an illegal firearm is more likely to face harsher charges and penalties in the current political climate. From homicide to armed robbery charges, courts are prepared to treat firearms charges more severely. This can include illegally owning, purchasing or selling a firearm used in a crime.
If you possess an illegal gun, a criminal defence lawyer can connect you with a free program to anonymously surrender firearms for destruction. Using such a program protects your identity and prevents criminal repercussions.
Hire a Lawyer for Firearms and Organized Crime Charges in Toronto
If you or a loved one are facing charges for Firearms or Organized Crime in you need experienced representation. William Jaksa is a Toronto criminal defence lawyer with over 10 years of experience. Book a consultation today.