Ottawa’s police chief’s report outlines plans for a new strategy for mental health. It will be presented on Monday to the city’s police board. The plan follows criticism of the death of Abdirahman Abdi, a black man who was struggling with mental health.
The report says that police will seek public feedback through an online questionnaire and via social media. The number of calls related to mental health is expected to rise in 2020, the police service says. It plans to start public consultations this spring, and will train more officers in each unit with specialized training in mental health, it says. A report by the Police Service of Ottawa is scheduled to be presented to the police board on Monday.
Advocates have called on the Ottawa police to change how they deal with calls where mental health is an element. The force said that part of the challenge is that there are gaps in the data about mental health and addictions. The collection and reporting of calls through the dispatch system is not governed by any national standard.