The Georgia Straight interviews two University of British Columbia health researchers who argue that the Vancouver Police Department “is unfairly linking mental illness to violent crime” and “exaggerating the need for greater police control over those with mental health challenges.” The researchers suggest it’s a ploy by police to get more funding even as crime is dropping.
The Straight quotes from a paper in Critical Public Health by the researchers: “The same time that homicide rates and violent crime rates are low and steadily declining in Vancouver and the rest of Canada, the (Vancouver Police Department) is pushing forward recommendations for increased surveillance and police presence in Vancouver in response to escalating dangers arising from the ‘mental health crisis’.”
The researchers describe a “blending of criminal justice and mental health policy in Canada,” reports the Straight. And it is occurring, the researchers argue, as public funding for community services and supports for people diagnosed with mental disorders have been decreasing and police funding has been steadily increasing.
Health researchers question VPD’s claim Vancouver is experiencing a mental-health “crisis” (Georgia Straight, February 25, 2015)
Boyd, Jade, and Thomas Kerr. “Policing ‘Vancouver’s Mental Health Crisis’: A Critical Discourse Analysis.” Critical Public Health 0, no. 0 (February 9, 2015): 1–16. doi:10.1080/09581596.2015.1007923. (Abstract)