SASKATOON -- The Prince Albert Police Service is adjusting to an increase in violent crime during the pandemic.

Chief Jon Bergen, along with Board of Police Commissioners members, spoke to media on Wednesday morning. The board held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the service’s efforts to respond to violent crime.

The police service’s new crime suppression team was deployed this week.

Bergen said “a number of the incidents” recently are likely gang-related. Violence is occurring between members of different gangs or within one group, he said.

Bergen said firearms are also more readily available.

He said police members are working hard to tackle an increase in violent crime in the city.

“They are working tirelessly to investigate and charge those responsible for threatening the safety of our community,” said Bergen.

“These events are traumatic for the families who have lost a loved one and for the community, and they weigh heavily on our police members.”

The board is seeking more funding from provincial and federal governments to address gang activity, weapons, mental health and addictions.