Winnipeg Police Cause Harm is committed to defunding the Winnipeg Police Service and reallocating resources to life-sustaining services.
We do not advocate for police reform, but rather the defunding and abolition of the WPS and reallocation of their funds to sustainable, community-led alternatives.
More about us
We are community-centred and police abolitionist.
We are a leaderless, horizontally organized group that is anti-capitalist, anti-carceral, anti-colonial, and anti-oppressive. Our approach to our work is intersectional. We strive to apply these values in our organizing work, our interactions with each other, and in our personal lives.
We are in humble solidarity with all peoples and communities who are harmed by the Winnipeg Police Service.
All our work is volunteer-based.
Winnipeg Police Cause Harm was founded in September, 2019, following several killings by the Winnipeg Police Service of Indigenous and Black people including Chad Williams, Machuar Madut, Sean Thompson, and Randy Cochrane. Read more about our why our group was formed, here.
Why defund and abolish the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS)?
Winnipeg spends the highest percentage of its budget on policing of any major city in Canada. In 2021, the Winnipeg Police will blow over $300 million, mostly on the six-figure salaries and cushy benefits enjoyed by officers. Police chief Danny Smyth makes over $270,000 a year, far more than any other city employee—including the mayor.
But the city isn’t getting any safer. The number of homicides, assaults, break and enters, and theft continues to go up year after year. At last count, the police had a clearance rate of only 29 percent, meaning that over two-thirds of alleged crimes didn’t result in a charge. By their own metrics, the police are utterly failing to uphold public safety.
Instead, the police are often the instigators of harm, especially against Indigenous and Black people, unhoused people, people who use drugs, sex workers, and people with mental health and substance use issues. Over the last several years, Winnipeg Police have killed a truly sickening number of people: Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins, Stewart Andrews, Machuar Madut, Chad Williams, Sean Thompson, Randy Cochrane, and many more whose names we don’t know. Winnipeg Police also assault, intimidate, surveil, harass, and displace people every day. But they are rarely, if ever, held to account for these harms—mostly recently, the supposedly independent oversight body decided not to charge the officer who killed 16-year-old Eishia Hudson. Even when police don’t directly harm someone, their very presence in our communities breeds paranoia, distrust, stigmatization, and fear (just think of the police helicopter).
At the same time as the already bloated police budget grows larger, funding for life-sustaining services like housing, libraries, healthcare, and transit continues to be slashed. People are made far less safe in the process—and police criminalize the consequences, forcing them into cycles of incarceration and trauma.
How can police abolition build a better future?
Something has to change. That’s why we, and many other organizations in Winnipeg and across the country, are calling for defunding and abolition of police. We all know what keeps people actually safe: secure housing, food provision, harm reduction, income supports, non-violent crisis response, and mental health and substance use resources.
Police are stealing the funds that would make such a future possible. So we’re proposing a not-so-radical solution: Why don’t we stop funding something that is clearly failing to protect us—and in fact kills and harms many, especially Indigenous and Black people—and put our collective resources towards life-sustaining services that keep all of safe?
Police abolition isn’t just about getting rid of the police: it’s about building a safe and just Winnipeg for everyone.