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.
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:
- take extra care and time to build relationships with people who suffer frequent mental health crises in their communities.
frequent usersof the system, and chronic offenders with mental health conditions, to get the help they need.
- help provide a longer term solution to the increasing frequency of mental health related calls to police.
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:
- find solutions to better meet the needs of people with mental health addiction issues.
- study ways to improve information sharing with Health Authorities and other partners
- review protocols governing police hospital attendance, when someone has been apprehended under the Mental Health Act.
- expand the number of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Teams working with the RCMP. (These teams help mental health clients with complex needs seek treatment and rehabilitation)
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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