Justice Iacobucci report urged changes in “Police Encounters With People In Crisis”

20140724_101358Justice Iacobucci Speaking at the Release of his Report on “Police Encounters With People In Crisis”
Justice Frank Iacobucci report on the Toronto Police use of force entitled “Police Encounters With People In Crisis” was released at Toronto Police Headquarters on Thursday, July 24th 2014 at 10:00 am. It contains 84 recommendations under 9 broad topics. Full coverage of Justice Frank Iacobucci report and the recommendations can be accessed online at http://www.tpsreview.ca/

IMG_7009Representatives of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations including Margaret Hageman, Anthony Morgan and Gary Pieters along with Irwin Nanda of the Ontario Federation of Labour were present at the news conference upon release of Hon. Justice Frank Iacobucci’s independent review and report, “Police Encounters With People in Crisis”

Justice  Iacobucci’s Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service Gary Pieters of Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Irwin Nanda of the Ontario Federation of Labour respond to Iacobucci’s Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service.

What we would like to see is that this report gets into the hands of every single rank & file officer. We want to see that the recommendations and the steps to make those recommendations lived reality in the daily lives of policing is embedded into the culture of these officers through some form of professional training that happens immediately. – Gary Pieters (CBC News Video on the Release of Justice Iacobucci’s Report on “Police Encounters With People In Crisis”)

We note that the 84 recommendations contained in Justice Iacobucci’s report on Police Encounters With People In Crisis built upon the 27 recommendations already found in the UARR report Saving Lives: Alternatives to the Use of Lethal Force by Police Report (2000).

At the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, we are interested in a progressive approach to policing that result in equitable, positive social outcomes. In the report, we looked for:

  • Recommendations that promote better community policing and believe that many of the recommendations are the first step towards that outcome.
  • Research on racialized persons in crisis and their police contact outcomes, and this is perhaps the missing intersectional issue that was overlooked. The report did not look at the intersectionality issues of race & mental health in a diverse society along w/ culturally responsive models of support. In fact, we would have liked to see organizations with a critical race and mental health lens invited to participate in the implementation advisory group including Across Boundaries Mental Health Centre, Taibu Community Health Centre, The Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Youth Mental Health Groups, LGBTQ organizations, as well as those organizations dealing with the homeless and street involved persons.
  • Appropriate approaches and police behaviour in their interactions with people in crisis, the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or those that are developmentally disabled have been addressed in many of the recommendations.
  • Better collaboration between the police and CAMH to better manage the environment and behavioural interaction of police to reduce/eliminate aggression and violence in first responder contact with people facing mental health issues. This area has been alluded to in looking at the role of the mental health system in preventative approaches to serving people in crisis thereby reducing the frequency of police being the first responders to people in crisis.
  • Altering the environmental triggers of policing to better influence how police feel, think and behave in emotionally charged, crisis or critical incidents was addressed in changing the culture of policing to better respond to people in crisis.
  • We are concerned about the implementation on a pilot basis of CEWs including Tasers in the hands of frontline officers. We support the call by Justice Iacobucci for further research on Tasers. We believe that a differentiated approach or tiered approach to de-escalation which should place combined emphasis on interpersonal communications, alternatives to aggression and violence, and interdisciplinary resources including the Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, Mental Health Leads/Mental Health Champions along with ongoing professional learning and training to enable officers to be better able to respond to the built environment impact on the behaviour of persons in crisis.
  • We urge that the procedures for police contact with people in crisis be applied in an equitable and supportive manner, and that it does not criminalize mental health in any way. We all want positive social outcomes for this crucial initiative, so accountability needs to be built in to the implementation. Still, this is a hopeful development in the history of the Toronto Police Services.
  • We also would like to see Justice Iacobucci’s report on “Police Encounters With People In Crisis” adopted by the Ministry of Community Safety and implemented throughout the province. With over 52 police services in the province, it would be great to see best practices across the province harmonized in order to transform the culture of policing in Toronto and across Ontario.

Media/Commentary


Sammy Yatim report: More officers should wear cameras CBC Television

Report on use of deadly force gets mixed reviews Sharenews

Justice Iacobucci report sets roadmap for police encounters with people in crisis Toronto Star

When Police Meet People In Crisis Ottawa Citizen

Police ‘culture change’ must be matched by fixing mental health system Toronto Star

Report makes sorrowful acknowledgement — Toronto police have ‘in effect, become part of the mental healthcare system’ National Post

When Police Face Mental Health Calls, An Officer’s Brain is the Best Tool The Globe and Mail

Implementing Iacobucci’s recommendations won’t be simple: Mukherjee Toronto Sun

Iacobucci use of force report recommends Taser study Toronto Star

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