Ottawa invests $86-million to end gang and gun violence file photo of the CBSA office on Walker Rd. (Photo by Jason Viau)

The federal government has pledged $86-million to help the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Border Services Agency fight gun and gang violence.

Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction made the announcement Thursday.

“Criminal gun and gang violence is a grave threat to the safety and prosperity of our communities,” said Goodale. “Giving law enforcement the resources they need to stop it is a critical part of the solution.”

A total of $51.5-million over the next five years will flow to the CBSA to prevent firearms from coming across the border illegally. The agency will use the money to invest in an all-weather detector dog training facility, put new dog teams at key highway crossings, expand x-ray technology at postal centres and air cargo facilities, and train officers on ways to find concealed goods in vehicles.

The rest of the funding, $34.5-million will help the RCMP enhance its Integrated Criminal Firearms Initiative.

“Gun and gang violence has no place in Canada. Tackling illegal trafficking of firearms is an important first step in eradicating gun and gang violence,” added Blair. “We heard directly from law enforcement that this funding will help intercept and stop the flow of illegal firearms as well as gather greater intelligence on gangs that will be used to disrupt their movements and activities. We know if our officers have the tools they need, they will keep us safe.”

Earlier this year at the Summit on Gun and Gang Violence, experts told the government a holistic approach that supports prevention, enforcement, and helping gang members leave their criminal organizations will end gang and gun violence.