Victoria Council wants to know costs of VicPD mental health response

Victoria City Council wants to know what is spent having police officers respond to mental health issues.

VicPd Chief Constable Del Manak told councillors a report by a panel of experts found police officers are a necessary, and recognized part of the care system:

" We're not mental health experts.  And I've never said that we were. But what we are is, we are part of a system of care. And a system to allow people then to turn them over to people who can help them, instead of putting handcuffs on them and sending them to jail, which is not where they belong."

Manak says police need to be a part of the system as they are on the front lines.

But Councillor Ben Isitt says taxpayers shouldn't be paying for provincial services:

" And so I think that we want to determine what the expenditure was that Victoria and Esquimalt taxpayers incurred in 2018.  And once we have that dollar figure council can turn its mind to whether we would seek to recover those funds from the appropriate level of government."

Isitt's motion, requesting the Police Board provide an estimate of the costs incurred in 2018, passed unanimously.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, the Police Board Co-Chair, says despite the fact that police are doing a good job, and everyone is doing their best, something is not working when it comes to mental health.

Helps says the information is important to have, and vows to advocate with the Police Board to get the numbers.

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