Kelowna mayor Colin Basran has released his comments after the RCMP’s Southeast District held a news conference early on Thursday, July 2.
Mayor Basran said he still has concerns about the disturbing incident, but said it’s a good thing that an external police force will review the investigation into the rough detention of UBCO student Mona Wang.
“It’s also a good thing that Ms. Wang will be provided with the findings of the internal process and if she has concerns with the findings, she can have it reviewed by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP,” Basran said in his statement.
“We’ll see what the investigative process determines and have more to say when that is concluded.”
Basran added he and city manager Doug Gilchrist will be meeting with Interior Health next week to talk about the increasing numbers of calls for assistance on mental health incidents and how best to proceed in the future.
“However, a new approach is going to take all levels of government and social agencies working together to address mental illness and addictions.”
“The City of Kelowna is an active participant in this effort and we will continue to do whatever we can within our powers to find solutions,” he said.
“The real issue here is the need to re-think our systems, how they are funded and are coordinated to provide the most effective response to the increasing and increasingly complex mental health needs in communities.”
Basran said last year, the Kelowna detachment’s officers responded to 3,561 mental health-related calls that resulted in 588 apprehensions under the Mental Health Act. Echoing what Supt. Brad Haugli said, mental health-related calls are up 21 per cent throughout the RCMP’s Southeast District in the past four years, with a further increase this year.
“Police perform a difficult and critical job in our community every day. While recent events are disturbing, we need to take this and other recent incidents as a moment to reconsider how we are funding and approaching these situations and take actions to find a better way to address them.”