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Saskatoon Police release 2021 dispatch and safety numbers

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon Police Chief says PACT teams will help resolve certain calls more effectively' Saskatoon Police Chief says PACT teams will help resolve certain calls more effectively
Troy Cooper of the Saskatoon Police Service answered questions on new Police and Crisis Teams that have been dispatched to calls with a 'strong mental health component'. – Jun 16, 2022

The Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners on Thursday released their annual report on arrests and many other stats from 2021.

In 2021, the police and crisis team dealt with 1,894 dispatched calls, an increase of 20 per cent from 2020, according to a report from the Saskatoon Police Service to the board.

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The report also said call volume “has increased every month from 2020, with noticeable increases towards the end of 2021.”

In December 2021, the police and crisis team, also known as PACT, dealt with 197 dispatches, the highest of any month during the year.

The report said PACT units diverted 353 people from going to an emergency room last year. This marks a 27 per cent increase from 2020.

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Not only is this important in monetary terms, as every diverted emergency room visit saves the health system $800 and every diverted day in hospital saves $550, but it also saves space for others in need.

“The diversions are reducing costs and providing a needed service for people suffering from mental health and addiction in the community,” the report said.

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One of the main interactions PACT has with people experiencing mental health issues are apprehensions under the Saskatchewan Mental Health Services Act. In 2021, 320 mental health warrants were completed.

With an increased focus on mental health, Saskatoon has a PACT unit on three of its four shifts, with hopes of adding another in the future.

“With the increasing mental health and addiction calls, this would alleviate the pressure on our calls for service to patrol officers, divert arrests in our cells, divert individuals from the Emergency Departments and allow for the reduction of acutely elevated-risk situations,” the report said.

Mental health continues to be the number one risk factor and has been since 2018. Drugs and and housing followed closely behind in 2021, with criminal involvement a continuing risk factor throughout the last four years.

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The full report can be found here: Vulnerable Persons Unit – 2021 Annual Report

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