I posted this as a comment but decided I’m just going to post it as a general post.
I’d like to fill you guys in on some facts: THIS IS SOMETHING I’VE LIVED THROUGH.
First of all, police have actually continuously been defunded as of late. They face cuts year after year. To the point where if you look at a local map, you’ll see that Peel Police 21 Division covers a huge portion of Brampton, a portion of Caledon and a portion of Mississauga. They only recently reopened the Malton Community Police Centre, but regardless, Malton is still technically part of 21 Division.
That’s ONE division that covers a major area of Peel.
And on any given shift, they are short-staffed and they need to bring in officers from other less busy divisions to cover their area because 21 Division is one of the busiest divisions in Peel. Because they have such a large area to cover, this is why if your car was stolen 12 hours ago, and no one is hurt, it could take them several hours to come to respond to you. This is why if somebody committed a crime on your street but no one was hurt, it takes them several hours to get to you. It’s not that they don’t care. There’s simply not enough of them. This will not be fixed by removing funding.
Second of all, you guys like to say things like, “Cops shouldn’t be involved in mental health.” Yeah. I’ve personally spoken to the FORMER police chief about this. Funny story: THEY TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU.
I hate to break it to you but this falls squarely on the shoulders of our provincial government. The Mental Health Act of Ontario literally requires the involvement of police. It is written in the law and until that’s changed, you can yell at the cops all you want, but it’s part of their mandate to be involved.
I think what people don’t understand is the difference between an arrest and detainment. Under the mental health act, police (with approval from a judge OR a doctor) can detain a patient and take them to the hospital against their will. People take videos of this stuff and they compare it to an arrest. It is NOT the same thing. The detention (cuffs, etc.) is for the safety not just of others, but for the safety of the patient, as well.
In recent years, the police have actually invested MORE money into mobile crisis teams and have partnered with crisis teams to respond to mental health calls. But, you’d be hard-pressed to find a social worker, nurse or doctor who’s going to be equipped to respond to a severely mentally ill patient who may be violent. They’d require police training for that. And we already have the police. And I’ve never met a social worker on a mobile crisis team who wants to take over the police responsibilities on a mental health call. They are there for a reason.
When police are failing and could be better served by better training, this requires manpower and requires money. This also will not be fixed by defunding.
Where you want the police to be involved less, these are LEGAL issues that you need to take up with your city councillor, mayor, MP, MPP (depending on the jurisdiction of the law you want changed). That is why it is so important to show up on voting day. Because you need to vote out bad policy-makers who write these laws into place.
It’s easy for y’all to say it’s the cops’ fault, but the law literally requires the involvement of the police. The cops didn’t write those laws. Even worse. The laws are written where the involvement of police is necessary, but their hands are tied in terms of how much they can do when they’re there.
The laws need changing. The policy-makers need changing. They are the ones who put the systemic issues in place. While some forces, like the LAPD, for example, actually have historic provable racist roots, and they need to prove that they’ve changed, Peel Police, on the other hand, is one of the most diverse police forces that exist. Crying for our local police to be defunded when they’re struggling as it is is unreasonable.
EDIT: Funny enough, I made a video about when and why police get involved under the Mental Health Act here. I actually started this video thinking the cops were abusing their power, and through research, realized the law was on their side. So, if you have a problem with what happened here, take it up with your MPP, not the cops.
I also forgot to mention that if you speak to the local fraud department at 21 Division, they are so swamped with cases that they are two years behind. The last time I spoke to them in 2019, they told me, they were just opening up cases from 2017 because they are short-staffed.
There’s also an elderly abuse coordinator. She’s a constable, My understanding is that every single case involving a victim 60-years-old or older comes across her desk. There’s only one of her. One elderly abuse coordinator for Peel Region. Think about that.
And you want to reduce their funding?
Please. Rethink that the next time you say they need less money, but need to do more.