Chilliwack RCMP officers arrest a suspect. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. police must be better integrated into mental health system: death review panel

Police are already a ‘de facto’ part of the system, coroner finds

Police in B.C. need more training on how to handle mental health issues, a panel examining people who died after dealing with the cops has found.

In a report released Tuesday, the BC Coroners Service found that “police are a de facto part of the mental health system and that the role of policing should be incorporated into the provincial mental health strategy.”

The panel looked at 127 deaths between 2013 and 2017 that happened within or during the 24 hours after they had police contact.

On average, 25 people died each year and the vast majority – 85 per cent – were male.

The panel found 70 per cent of those involved mental health issues and that half of the 127 people who died were “exhibiting mental health symptoms” during police contact.

More than half of the 127 people struggled with illicit drugs.

The panel recommended the province incorporate police forces into its mental health and addictions strategy.

It said that access to emergency mental health assessment needed to be improved in rural areas, and that people released from police holding needed better information on mental health and crisis resources in their region.

The third recommendation asked the province to develop a B.C. Provincial Policing Standard that would examine and monitor use of force and make sure police officer training was sensitive to mental health issues.

READ ALSO: People with mental illness twice as likely to be victims of violence: study

READ ALSO: 350 B.C. first responders to gather and talk about their mental health


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Additional Penticton washrooms open in time for weekend

Washrooms at Riverside, Skaha Lake Park, Okanagan Lake Park, more, now open

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

First day back; attending elementary school amid COVID-19

“… Social connections are certainly important for kids,” said Carmi principal Dave Ritchie.

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Vernon protesters take Black Lives Matter movement to park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

Most Read