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Firearm seizures spiked in Greater Sudbury last year

There were 525 firearms stored as evidence at Greater Sudbury Police Service headquarters last year, which was a spike from the 423 recorded in 2022
Items seized during an April 19 vehicle stop, which includes a loaded handgun, more than 600 grams of cocaine, 140 grams of fentanyl and almost $51,000 in Canadian currency. A report headed to the Greater Sudbury Police Board this week highlights a spike in the number of firearms seized in the city over the past year.

There were more guns brought in to Greater Sudbury Police Service headquarters last year, with the 525 firearms seized a jump from the 423 recorded in 2022.

This statistic was included in a 2023 property and evidence control audit which was tabled for the May 15 police board meeting.

Evidence held at Greater Sudbury Police Service headquarters is in good hands, according to their latest annual audit.

“The current process for the continuity of evidence appears to be operating in an effective manner,” according to the latest report, tabled for the May 15 police board meeting.

The work area “was found to be secure, very clean and well organized; items were in place, property and equipment were properly stored and employees were adequately trained on property procedures.”

Retrieval of items went well, with no complications or issues encountered.

The audit included an April 10 physical examination of the Property and Evidence Department in a secure section of the Lionel Lalonde Centre in Azilda, staff interviews, review of policies and tracking of evidence log processes.

The auditor examined 100 items of property and their related tags and found that all tags had been filled out correctly and legibly. 

One GSPS shortcoming had to do with evidence retention, with the department hanging on to items after a related investigation had concluded or the items were no longer required.

Of the 100 items examined at random, 48 involved property in compliance, 37 no longer needed to be retained, and 15 had been assigned for disposal but had not yet been disposed of.

The 48-item compliance rate is less than the 68 items in compliance in 2022.

“The auditor learned that in many cases where the property unit has been requested to dispose of items by the reporting officer, quite often the property owner does not have an address as they may be homeless,” according to the report.

“The process of disposing of the property requires a third-party agency to properly dispose of or auction items. These third-party agencies' attendance is in some cases every few months which results in items remaining on property shelves.”

There were 6,019 property tags submitted, some of which included multiple items. Meanwhile, 5,580 items were disposed of. 

At the time of the audit, there was a backlog of 646 tasks related to the disposal of property, which was a jump from 396 recorded the previous year. There were intermittent staffing shortages last year.

The May 15 police board meeting is being held at the Alex McCauley Boardroom on the fifth floor of GSPS headquarters (190 Brady St.), where it can be viewed in-person beginning at 10 a.m.

Those interested in attending can also view a livestream through Zoom by clicking here. The meeting ID is 874 5553 5165, and the passcode is 532854.