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TOP POLICE CHIEF SAYS INVEST IN SOCIAL PROGRAMS

Source: article by Charles Hamilton, published in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix September 25, 2015, photo: Gord Waldner

Canada’s top police chief says Canada should invest in social programs aimed at reducing poverty and providing more treatment for people with mental health issues if they want to have a real impact on the crime rate.

Chief Clive Weighill, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, says stable funding for front line officers is always welcome, but more money is also badly needed in other areas like mental health, addictions and housing in order to reduce crime.

“I believe if we can fix some of these social contributors, we are going make a bigger dent in crime than we are by arresting people,” Weighill said.

The federal government needs to play a key role in making sure people with mental illness can find adequate treatment, he added, noting at least a quarter of all the people police come in contact with on a daily basis are suffering from some kind of mental health or addictions issue and often it’s hard to find them the help they need.

Weighill said he wants to see a concrete action plan from the next federal government on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

“I believe these are fundamental issues if we want to enhance public safety in Canada in the long term,” he said.