The problem is a lack of funding from the BC provincial government for social support systems for individuals struggling with mental health problems. When the police intervene, they use tactical force which is abusive and traumatizing for already vulnerable individuals. Click here to learn more or read an excerpt below.
“The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which has been meeting in Winnipeg, says lack of health-care funding is putting people with mental-health issues on the streets.
Association president Jim Chu says police should not be the front line on mental-health issues.
Chu, who is chief constable of the Vancouver Police Service, says officers spend too much time in waiting rooms and dealing with people who don’t have adequate social and medical support.
For example, Chu says the number of people apprehended by police under the Mental Health Act has more than quadrupled since 2002 — more than 2,600 people in Vancouver so far this year.
He says the focus needs to shift from dealing with a crisis to preventing it in the first place.