Vancouver city council passes motion deprioritizing policing in mental health calls and social issues

The City of Vancouver says it is providing funding for a permanent position to lead a program aimed at supporting people who have survived overdoses. Chester Ptasinski / Global News

Vancouver City Council’s Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities, in a virtual meeting Monday night, passed a motion to shift police priorities and funding away from mental health emergencies and social issues, allowing instead for a community-led approach in dealing with these areas.

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An amendment to Councillor Jean Swanson’s motion, as moved by Councilor Pete Fry, calls for “a plan, timeline and budget to deprioritize policing as a response to mental health, sex work, homelessness, and substance use and to prioritize funding community-led groups, non-profit societies and others with the experience and training to deliver harm reduction and safety initiatives in these areas.”

The amended motion also calls for ongoing consultation with individuals with lived experience and specialized community groups for direction on how the city can support existing and future community-based harm reduction and safety services.

Over 200 speakers had voiced their opinions and shared their personal experiences on the issue leading up to council’s vote.

You can read Councillor Swanson’s motion here:

Click to access pspc7.pdf

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