Public safety plan aims to address 'feelings of unease'

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A public safety plan aims to respond to “feelings of unease”

Premier David Eby during his dedicated Vancouver press conference to public safety.

To combat what is seen as a general decrease in public safety related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis, British Columbia Premier David Eby is launching an action plan to strengthen the safety in communities.

Mr. Eby's plan, which was sworn in on Friday, includes the creation of new police response teams, special prosecutors and of probation officers dedicated to repeat criminals.

There are also more mental health response teams on the ground, the launch of a model of care for people with addictions at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, and the opening of a dozen new Indigenous justice centers.

Criticizing unintended impacts of changes to federal law that would have allowed violent repeat offenders to be released pending trial , prosecutors will have new guidelines on bail, which go into effect Tuesday. They aim in particular to review the way in which information is shared between prosecutors and police.

The government also intends to introduce a law next spring that will allow the seizure of assets of people suspected of being involved in organized crime. Authorities could seize the “homes, cars and luxury items” of criminals, which the British Columbia Money Laundering Inquiry Commission suggested in its report in June.

When announcing the plan on Sunday, David Eby pointed to the worrying rise in challenges related to people with mental health issues as well as the rise in recidivism of violent crimes, which causes feelings of unease and loss. security.

“While we are understanding and compassionate when it comes to mental health and addictions issues, that doesn't mean we have to condone violent crime in our communities. We will follow the parallel paths of processing and enforcement.

— David Eby, Premier of British Columbia

At the press conference, David Eby was surrounded by several other leaders, including the Vancouver Chief of Police , City Mayor and First Nations Justice Council Director Kory Wilson.

“[The new policies] will help,” Wilson said, noting that changes may take time. “I would like to snap my fingers and get an immediate solution, but we know there will be trial and error.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer enthusiastically welcomes the new plan: Better coordination, information sharing, and transparency will lead to better results.

On the other hand, Liberal MP for Surrey South Elenore Sturko wonders why David Eby did not release these policies when he served as Attorney General for five years.

As for Vince Tao, a community organizer with the Network of People Who Use Drugs of Vancouver Area (VANDU), he believes that the sharing of information between different government agencies constitutes a state of heightened surveillance of people marginalized.

When we talk about expanding the number of services, we turn the velvet glove into an iron fist, says Vince Tao. Ultimately, we're talking about expanding the criminal justice system into more and more areas, whether it's mental health or social and affordable housing.

David Eby is giving himself two years before the next election to show voters the progress that has been made on this file.

With information by Akshay Kulkarni

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