Phenomena associated with mental health problems and stress, which are increasingly present in our everyday lives, have multiplied the number of crisis situations requiring police intervention. Every year, the SPVM receives numerous calls concerning people in crisis. The organization has introduced several measures to improve its interventions by better adapting them to this situation.
RIC (réponses en intervention de crise / critical incident response) blends intervention theories and methods to enable police officers to better understand human crises and the ways to intervene with people in crisis. It also aims to reduce the number of injuries to such people and to the officers, and to increase the effectiveness of the interventions and reduce the number of repeat calls.
This training enables police officers to intervene directly with a person in crisis, to counsel that person and to support other officers in how they should proceed. If the officer in charge so requests, a trained officer can also advise the officers at the scene on the best approach to take. Trained officers can serve as contacts for their colleagues on issues related to interventions with people who are mentally unfit. When not called upon to intervene with people in crisis, these officers are engaged in their usual work.
The équipe de soutien aux urgences psychosociales (ÉSUP) crisis intervention team consists of SPVM police officers and CSSS Jeanne-Mance social workers. They patrol as mixed teams and intervene directly at the frontline with people in crisis or suffering a mental disturbance.
The team has been on duty every night since June 6, 2012. It is dispatched by the 9-1-1 operators with the Section centre de communications opérationnelles (SCCO) in response to distress calls or requests by other police officers present at a scene involving a mental health issue.