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B.C. Premier David Eby tackles public safety in sweeping set of new measures


Prime Minister David Eby presented a series of new measures to boost public safety in communities across BC on Sunday, one of his first major policy announcements since taking office.

Eby spoke in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park, two days after being sworn in BC’s 37th Prime Minister on Friday. He was accompanied by officials such as Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer.

Dubbed the “Action Plan for Safer Communities,” one of the more important promises was to expand mental health emergency response teams to more communities — after Criticism of police handling of mental health calls.

The public safety measures come after a summer of growing concern about the allegations “recidivism” in BC citiesand what the government has described as an increase in addiction and mental health challenges due to the pandemic and poison crisis.

Eby also plans to set up “repeated violent crime response teams” by April 2023, consisting of police and dedicated prosecutors, to deal with what opponents have. called the “catch and drop” model for those accused of recidivism.

“Compassion, concern and action on mental health and addiction issues does not mean we have to accept repeated criminal or violent behavior,” Eby said in a statement.

Prime Minister says new measures follow an investigative report launched by the province in October, calling for expanded mental health support.

VIEW | BC Premier David Eby announced measures to deal with repeat offenders:

New BC PM announces new public safety measures

New BC Chancellor David Eby has unveiled a plan to tackle public safety issues, including countermeasures against repeat offenders and expanding addiction and mental health support.

Eby said there will also be an improvement in the way information is shared between prosecutors and police, designed to help courts make Guarantee decisions are clearer and eliminate confusion, according to the prime minister. Several policies related to bail hearings are expected to be adopted as early as Tuesday.

The prime minister said the province will expand virtual bail hearings, so those accused of crimes in smaller communities won’t have to go to larger “central towns”, where they have less exposure. support, to stand trial.

Center for Indigenous Justice and Property Seizure

In addition to measures around so-called recidivism, Eby said he plans to increase addiction care at St. Paul in Vancouver, although he does provide some details on the new approach.

There is also an additional funding commitment for brain injury treatment services and more mobility activities mental health emergency team.

According to Eby, ten new Indigenous justice centers will be opening across the province, who says he wants to provide more access to culturally relevant legal services for Indigenous peoples. .

It’s unclear where the new centers will open — the province’s statement only mentions “metropolitan areas” — but says five will open next year.

“The reality is that in our criminal justice system… Indigenous peoples are overrepresented in significant numbers,” said Kory Wilson, director of BC First National Judiciary Council.

“[The new policies are] will help,” Wilson said, adding that she doesn’t know how quickly the changes will happen. .”

Another key policy announced by Eby is a proposed law introducing “unexplained wealth orders,” which, he said, would discourage people from being attracted to the gang lifestyle. That law will be introduced in early 2023.

Orders would confiscate “homes, cars and luxury goods” from organized crime—which is recommended by the Cullen . Committee on money laundering earlier this year.

Costs for the full range of new measures were not provided at Eby’s press conference. However, the province said it will invest $3 million to set up new mental health crisis groups and $3 million a year for a virtual bail system.

‘Velvet gloves on iron fists’

Elenore Sturko, BC Liberal MLA for Surrey South and former RCMP officer, questioned why the plan was not introduced by Eby during his time. five years as attorney general.

“Not that some of these aren’t great ideas, but my disappointment is that this opposition, the police agencies, The mayor of the city holds a closed meetingand people across the province have requested some of these measures,” she told CBC News in an interview.

“The fact that he saved this announcement for the Sunday after he was announced … really, that’s disgusting to me.”

A bald man looks at the camera against the autumn backdrop.
Vince Tao, a member of the Vancouver Drug Users Network, said he questioned who David Eby was setting ‘safety standards’ for – saying the language ‘zero tolerance for crime’ has benefited the police, not the disadvantaged. (Catherine Dib/CBC)

Vince Tao, a community organizer with the Vancouver Area Drug Users (VANDU) Network, said Eby’s promise to expand information sharing between agencies was worrisome and that constitutes an extension of state surveillance over disadvantaged people.

“When we talk about providing more services to people, I think it’s just a velvet glove on an iron fist,” he said. “Finally, we’re talking about expansion [the] the criminal justice system into more and more areas, whether it’s mental health or the housing support system.”

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