Response to domestic disputes, suicide attempts up over 2019: Regina Police Service

Regina Police Service Chief Evan to reporters Tuesday about the strain on the force's resources. Adrian Raaber / Global News

The Regina Police Service says they’re responding to more domestic dispute and suicide attempt reports this year than last.

“On average, we are attending 19 domestic the related calls per day — that’s up from 15 where we were last year,” RPS Chief Evan Bray told a Board of Police Commissioners meeting Thursday.

“We have attended year to date 662 suicide calls. That’s almost four times we are responding per day. Sadly, 20 of those calls we’ve attended to have been completed suicides.”

Bray voluntarily included the data, which isn’t typically compiled for the board, as he gave his monthly crime statistics report.

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“I felt like it was important for you to get a full picture of some of the more social calls our officers go to on a daily, monthly and weekly basis,” he told the board.

The revelation came as the Regina board of police commissioners passed a motion calling for a review of police response to social crises and more provincial funding for social services. A motion calling for increased independent police oversight was also passed at the meeting.

“Eighty per cent of calls for service for police are not criminal in nature, they’re not criminal code violations — they’re people with addictions, they’re people with mental health challenges,” said board member and Ward 6 Coun. Joel Murray.

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“Exposing them right off the bat to police may not be the best for them. We need to look at a more holistic approach and so that’s where we’re coming from.”

The motion calls for the following actions to be undertaken:

  1. The Regina board of police commissioners provide to city council and members of the public:
    • information on partnerships, programs and activities of the RPS related to community policing;
    • RPS non-Criminal Code calls for service including police and crisis team (PACT), community engagement unit, central district crime reduction strategy, cultural and community diversity unit, citizens police academy and the Regina intersectoral partnership (TRIP).
  2. The report include an analysis of the challenges facing the RPS and community partners’ efforts to deal with community needs.
  3. The board of police commissioners advocate to the provincial government for increased funding to these partnerships and programs to ensure those in crisis in Regina are receiving the proper interventions and support, and to improve the process of integrating response systems to improve community safety and well-being.

Murray said that ultimately he’s like to see more funding directed to provincial ministries themselves to target problems before they ever come face-to-face with first responders.

“In my experience a lot of social workers have a very high caseload, so investing more in social work and some of those preventative measures goes a huge way into decreasing the amount that police are called out to these calls.”

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Regina police board joins calls for more independent oversight in Saskatchewan

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