Victoria council has directed staff to report back on a framework for an alternative response model for mental health and addictions in the city. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria discusses framework for policing alternatives

Staff may be asked to report on more holistic outreach services in time for 2021 budget

Despite lengthy discussions about policing models at Thurday’s committee meeting, Victoria council won’t make a decision about exploring frameworks for policing alternatives until the June 25 council meeting.

A motion presented by Coun. Sarah Potts, Coun. Marianne Alto and Coun. Jeremy Loveday – members of the City’s Community Wellness Task Force (CWTF) – recommends staff begin researching alternative models for more holistic outreach services in response to mental health and addictions issues in the city.

During a June 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, Alto called the motion the “culmination of a very long journey” and noted that discussions on the matter started in 2015.

READ ALSO: VicPD budget request sparks debate on role of police in mental health, addiction calls

“Currently, for a whole variety of horrific reasons, and particularly with the activities in the U.S. – around the world really including in our own communities – there sits before us both a tragedy and an opportunity to actually move forward on some of the work we’ve been contemplating for five years,” Alto said. “I think it’s clear now that across the spectrum of the community, there’s an appetite to have a conversation that speaks specifically to whether or not there are better ways for us to respond to community crises.”

The CWTF has been working on alternative models since the beginning of the term, but Thursday’s discussion came on the heel of continent-wide protests to systemic racism and police violence, sparking demands from many to reform and defund police departments.

The motion also recommended the City work with the province to establish an alternative response to policing mental health and additions – and as a program is developed, “continually investigate reallocating funding from other departments historically involved in the municipal response to mental health, homelessness and problematic substance use.”

READ ALSO: VicPD already exploring alternative models of response to mental health, homelessness calls

Potts referred to the 170 B.C. overdose deaths in May.

“Over the last few months, the cracks in our system have really been showing,” she said. “They’ve always been there, but it feels like now, we just can’t look away. We have to be doing someting different and the response from the community really signals that people want an opportunity to imagine something better for eachother.”

The final motion tasks City of Victoria staff with creating a report for council “on how to develop a framework for an accessibly, cullturally safe and approproate alternative response model” in time for 2021 budget deliberations. Funding for the project is proposed to come from the remaining CWTF budget.

The motion appears for a potential final vote June 25.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
nina.grossman@blackpress.ca


@NinaGrossman
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of VictoriaVicPDVictoria Police Department

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Stelly’s grads shocked after ‘anonymous friend’ pays for dinner

Friends took limo to Deep Cove Chalet to celebrate after graduation festivities cancelled

Saanich serves up virtual Strawberry Festival

Residents invited to look back on 54 years of festivals

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

VicPD investigating possible hate crime on BC Transit bus

A young Black man was randomly struck by a Caucasian man who he did not know

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Campbell River’s defunct cruise ship terminal to undergo evaluation for future plans

With no cruise ship coming through, the $16million terminal has been a white elephant for over 13 years

Most Read