Enhancing Police Response to Mental Health Situations

From 2010 to 2014, incidences with a mental health component increased in RCMP jurisdictions in BC by 32%.

BC RCMP recognizes that while police are often engaged, the solution to mental health related issues requires a greater societal response. Our officers often reach out to community resources, such as nurses, doctors, family and friends, to bring individuals to the attention of health care providers.

Photo of police officer reaching out a helping hand to a man.

RCMP approach to training

Frontline RCMP officers in BC, along with other BC police officers, must complete mandatory training every three years in Crisis Intervention and De-escalation training. The BC RCMP believes this training is critically important, and requires all its police officers to have it regardless of rank or assignment.

The RCMP`s approach to training is to rely heavily on interactive scenario-based learning, as compared to a lecture approach.

An enhanced training program for police officers who have an interest in this area, or already have specialized education such as a psychology degree, is in development.  

Mental Health Liaison officers

Many larger detachments across the province now have police officers assigned to be Mental Health Liaisons. These officers:

Crisis Mobile Units

Surrey, Kamloops and Prince George RCMP detachments have crisis mobile units, which pair a nurse with a police officer in a police vehicle. These partners work together to directly address mental health issues as they arise.

Police officers in these units have an enhanced level of training in mental health, above what is provincially mandated.

Working with Health Authorities

The BC RCMP is working Health Authority partners to: 

Next steps

In addition to the above initiatives, the BC RCMP is reviewing the way records are collected regarding mental health related calls, to help improve our ability to analyze the extent of the issue, and to improve police response.

The RCMP is also participating in numerous committees and studies with a variety of partners. Additional training opportunities for police will be expanded in the future.

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