What is the system gap?

Police serve in our communities to ensure public safety and security, however a significant number of calls for service are requests to respond to incidents involving individuals experiencing mental health and/or addictions and poverty-related challenges. In fact, up to 80 percent of calls to Brockville Police do not require enforcement, and in many of these cases police suspect mental health and/or substance use issues requiring supports that are more clinical, or vocational. Currently, the police have no consistent, streamlined process for responding to these individuals (whether youth or adult) when:

  • the offences are non-chargeable;
  • there are suspected poverty, mental health and/or substance use issues; and
  • there is no indication of current involvement with mental health and or addictions services.

When these concerns go unaddressed, the situations with these individuals often escalate and result in charges being filed at a later date.

What are we doing about it?

The Brockville Police and Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health developed an innovative, prevention-focused intervention model. This program is designed to identify and link individuals who are currently involved with the police and risk becoming increasingly justice-involved to appropriate services in the community. 

The program involves:

  • Identification - The Police identify individuals who are eligible for the program.
  • Outreach - Police and Case Manager visit the individual to discuss the program and perform an initial assessment of needs.
  • Connection to Services - Service options are discussed with the individual. Referral decision is made by the individual and executed by Case Manager. Interim support can be provided.

Both youth and adults (who do not qualify for other existing service streams) are eligible for the program, including complainants, victims and perpetrators.

The Brockville Police, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health, and Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) are partnering to:

  • conduct a review of current best practices and research related to this model;
  • identify and engage additional key stakeholders;
  • develop products and resources to support and promote the program;
  • develop a sustainable evaluation plan; and
  • organize and support the program launch.

This program helps empower and support clients, reduce police contact, enhance community engagement and improve community wellbeing.

This intervention has been piloted since October 2015 with encouraging initial outcomes in community adherence and adoption. 

?What's this?

Full Implementation

COP has been piloted in Brockville since September 2015.  They are continuing to develop and improve the process independently and are looking to partner with youth justice agencies.  

Who is involved?

This project involves two key partners:

  • Brockville Police Service
  • Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Addictions and Mental Health

Other stakeholders from various sectors were included in the consultations for the COP implementation process including community partners from:

  • justice;
  • health;
  • mental health; and
  • family members/members with lived experience.

Next Steps

COP partners are currently developing a data spread sheet to collect stats and support evaluation and tracking.   There may be interest to expand this intervention in neighbouring communities.

For more information, please contact

Marie-Lou Meawasige, Regional Implementation Coach
Marie-Lou.Meawasige@camh.ca
613-569-6024 ext. 78205

Constable Mark Heffernan, Community Safety Officer, Brockville Police Services
mheffernan@brockvillepolice.com
613-342-0127 ext. 4228