The Winnipeg Police Service confirmed to CTV News that in the past special duty officers were hired to work at Liquor Marts.

Police said they are currently working with Manitoba Liquor Marts to help curb thefts. This past fall, CTV reported that liquor stores were experiencing a spike in robberies, with a number of different people being charged in connection with thefts worth thousands of dollars.

Police said special duty officers are either not on shift or regular duty, and the cost begins at around $110 a hour.

"I know they tested it recently at a couple of stores,” Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) Chief Danny Smyth told CTV Winnipeg. “It may form part of a larger strategy down the road but we're really not there yet. We'll be meeting with Liquor and Lotteries officials later this week, actually, to go over that a little in greater detail."

"Certainly we're trying to work with them to come up with a strategy that works for everyone."

The Winnipeg police said they aren’t providing any further comments on their theft prevention strategies at Liquor Marts.

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MLL) said special duty officers were hired this past week at some Liquor Mart locations.

The Crown corporation wouldn’t say how many officers were hired, which locations they worked at or whether the initiative will continue.

“Sharing details about security and antitheft measures might compromise their effectiveness and could place our staff and customers at risk,” a MLL spokesperson said in email. “We continue to work closely with the WPS to explore every avenue possible to deter thefts at Liquor Marts. We are currently in the process of evaluating several options in consultation with them.”

Putting police in Liquor Marts is a move welcomed by the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU), the union which represents Liquor Mart employees.

"They have a concern when they go into work,” said MGEU president Michelle Gawronsky. “They're very concerned that they're going to be going home safe at the end of the day and they're very concerned that the people that are going to be shopping in their stores are going to be safe as well and the employer's got the responsibility to make sure that there's safety for everyone."

MLL said there were 2602 theft incidents reported to WPS in 2018, that’s up from 658 incidents in 2017.

It said police have made 62 arrests in Liquor Mart robberies since October.

- With files from CTV's Josh Crabb