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OPP’s OPERATION RETURN nets more than 300

By Adam Riley Oct 18, 2023 | 11:09 AM

A region wide campaign from the Ontario Provincial Police to arrest those wanted for violent offences has wrapped, with some positive numbers.

Acting Detective Inspector Adam Wilkins says Operation Return says 306 individuals were picked up over the course of several months.

“It has been very successful and it has built upon those relationships with our policing partners across the region and we’ll continue to do that.”

Operation Return came in light of the need for bail reform after several police officers were killed in the line of duty by those out on bail for violent offences.

Of those apprehended the Rainy River District detachment picked up 46, while Thunder Bay, with the Thunder Bay Police Service, arrested 43, along Highway 17 the combined efforts of the  Nipigon and Marathon detachments had 37, followed up by Kenora with 36 and Dryden did some advance work prior to Operation Return which took 24 wanted individuals off the streets.

Wilkins notes some of the offenders who were taken into custody may not have been originally from the region or had committed an offence in one detachment area but were rearrested in another.

In addition to working with the Thunder Bay Police, Treaty Three Police and Nishnawbe Aski Police Services the OPP also worked closely with other elements within the justice system such as the courts and jails, a process which Wilkins says was seamless.

“We are executing these court orders or judicial authorizations that are in place, bringing people back before the court and keeping that process going so that people can be held accountable and that services our communities but it also services the individual victims that are attached to each of these offences.”

While Operation Return may now be completed Wilkins says the OPP and its commanding officer, Commissioner Thomas Carrique, will continue to push for bail reform in the province.