VPD apprehensions under the Mental Health Act level off but remain high (Dr. Thomas Kerr)
In 2013, former Vancouver police chief Jim Chu described the city’s struggle to care for people with severe and untreated mental illness as a “growing crisis”. Now, seven years of data obtained by the Straight shows that the problem has essentially plateaued, no longer getting worse but also not improving.
One indicator that the VPD uses to track its work in this area is the number of apprehensions it logs under Section 28 of the B.C. Mental Health Act. That legislation allows officers to take a person into custody if they are deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others.
In February 2015, UBC associate professor Thomas Kerrcoauthored a paper that raised questions about the VPD’s frequent application of the Mental Health Act. “The VPD reports contribute to a widening net of social control, rather than to the betterment of the lives of people living with mental illness,” that paper concludes.
Travis Lupick reports
Angela White, St. Paul's Hospital Volunteer