The Vancouver Police Department has unveiled a new policy for dealing with people who have mental illness.
The policy focuses on mental illness training and de-escalation strategies.
Police Officers will now be able to take a person directly to a physician for examination depending on the situation.
Members are not expected to diagnose mental illness but are expected to recognize behavior to make appropriate decisions.
This formalized Strategy outlines members roles at all levels.
Crisis negotiation team members are required to complete a 40-hour refresher course once every five years and six mandatory negotiation training days throughout the year.
The policy also calls for the robust involvement of supervisory officers in calls that may involve a mental health aspect, including monitoring calls and attending the scene if situations become protracted.
Police and the City of Vancouver have warned repeatedly in recent years that they are facing a mental health crisis, with officers suggesting they were being pushed into a front line health worker role.
That suggestion has been born out by recent data, with VPD crime statistics showing a steadily increasing number of apprehensions in under the mental health actom recent years.
The VPD made 3,045 such apprehensions last year, up from 2,278 in 2010.