Équipe mobile de référence et d’intervention en itinérance (ÉMRII)

In 2009, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal created EMRII, in partnership with the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) of Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. This second-line service is made up of six police officers and five CIUSSS workers.

The purpose of EMRII is to reach the homeless or people at risk of becoming homeless, who are involved in repeat interventions with the police and display factors of vulnerability.

The members of this team also support or guide these individuals to the services appropriate to their needs, with the aim of improving their living conditions and facilitating their social re-integration.

Example of a case handled by EMRII

An individual had been detained 22 times, was transported by Urgences-santé several times, and was the subject of about 60 9-1-1 calls for inappropriate behaviours in a public place—all over a five-month period.

This case is typical for EMRII. There are several steps involved in dealing with such situations, as well as coordination with both health and social services and the justice system.

The power of partnerships

The partnership with the CIUSSS of Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal has helped the stakeholders in the health care community understand the police side of interventions with the homeless and helped the police understand the health care perspective, ensuring the two organizations no longer work in silo.

It allows better concerted action within the expertise, mandates and limits of each of the players (justice system, social and health services, community environment). It helps reduce the number of repeat interventions with the same people and indirectly reduces tensions resulting from cohabitation problems.

EMRII is a great example of the integration of police practices in a continuum of multi-sectoral services.

Team

EMRII is made up of six police officers and five workers from the CIUSSS of Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, including a nurse, a specialized educator, two social workers and a health coordinator.

The team has three mixed duos each consisting of a police officer and CIUSSS worker. The pairs share a patrol car and work together across Montréal.

Schedule 

The three EMRII mixed duos respond to calls from front-line patrol officers or SPVM partners Monday to Friday, in the daytime, based on the complementary services’ hours of operation.

Service offering

The EMRII mixed duos guide the homeless or people at risk of becoming homeless who are the subject of repeat police interventions to support organizations (health care or social services, day centres, shelters, food banks, legal support, mediation and community resources). 

EMRII members also follow chronic cases. Moreover, they support patrol officers with local issues related to chronic cases. They are not emergency responders—they are second-line responders.

Other police and social workers work at the SPVM’s Centre d’enquête Sud to ensure liaison with the judicial system, probation officers, detention officers, hospitals, medical clinics and detention centres (police officers, court houses and transition centres).

Number of EMRII interventions

Annually, EMRII ensures the constant follow-up of some fifty or so homeless people displaying factors of vulnerability and being the subject of repeat police interventions.

On average, front-line officers or partners handle some 28 calls per day, providing support or references for homeless people who are not the object of intensive follow-ups by EMRII. In these cases, the team assesses the situation and offers support for a response that is adapted to their needs. EMRII handles some 1,400 calls from front-line officers or partners each year.

To contact EMRII:

Telephone: 514 280-2231
Email: emrii@spvm.qc.ca

Find out more

Publications
Homeless people
People who are mentally disturbed or in crisis situations

Other innovative police practices at the SPVM
Containment and de-escalation training
Équipe de soutien aux urgences psychosociales (ÉSUP)
RIC (Réponse en intervention de crise) patrol officers

Recognition
In November 2013, EMRII won an honourable mention at the Prix d’excellence du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. The project CSSS Jeanne-Mance et SPVM : duo de choc! was presented in the Partnership category.

In May 2011, EMRII won the first prize (ex-aequo) at the Prix d'excellence Intersection, du ministère de la Sécurité publique.

In the media
Special report about EMRII - CTV, February 15, 2017
SPVM : dix ans d’intervention spécialisée auprès des itinérants - Radio-Canada, 30 septembre 2019
Un autre regard sur l’itinérance - Radio-Canada, 30 septembre 2019