Winnipeg police officers have been instructed to hand out a minimum of one traffic ticket per shift, something critics are questioning at a time when there is escalating gang violence.

CTV News has learned an internal memo was sent out to officers strongly encouraging them to hand out more traffic tickets.

A suggested minimum or quota of one to two tickets per cruiser car per shift - including units like the tactical unit.

One internal memo obtained by CTV News warns officers of penalties if they did not meet their quota.

"Supervisors should be closely monitoring the levels of enforcement on their platoons," it states.

"This should be reflected in their pdps (yearly reviews) when we are looking for members to fill positions in csu (community support unit) and investigations we look at all aspects of their performance."

In one internal memo, an inspector said money from traffic tickets is counted on as a source of revenue for the City of Winnipeg.

Publicly, police maintain the initiative is about safety, not money.

"if we can change those behaviours in some motorists that are out there then we've done our job in a different realm it's just another realm of policing," said Insp. Jim Poole.

Unless officers are working on a special project, Poole says they have "time for a little bit of everything" in their 10 hour work day.

Jennifer Courtney, who received a ticket Thursday for failing to have a front licence plate, says officers in Winnipeg have better things to do with their time.

"I'm a little ticked off i come from the north end where there's a lot of gang crime going on right now and i think the money can be spent trying to battle that and trying to protect the innocent people," she said.

If it was about safety, Courtney says police would give warnings, not just tickets.