Sgt. Steve Woodcox of the Kimberley RCMP delivered the first quarter policing report to Council this week. The Kimberley RCMP’s year ends at the end of March, so the first quarter report covers April to July.
When he delivered the fourth quarter report in April, Woodcox reported that his detachment was working with Interior Health on ways to be proactive on mental health calls in Kimberley. This includes having access to mental health workers for some visits.
Woodcox reported that initial efforts in that area have been very positive.
Working with mental health nurses and clinicians from IH has been very successful, he said. RCMP members have been able to take IH personnel along on some house calls on a regular basis rather than just an emergency situation.
“This partnership with Interior Health allows the RCMP to have access to a Mental Health nurse/clinician who will provide further assistance to those suffering extreme mental health symptoms,” he said. “This assistance has included home visits and regular contact from Interior Health nurses to provide those individuals with ongoing care.”
Woodcox said mental health calls were down over this quarter, just 18, down from 37 in the last quarter. He directly relates this drop to the partnership with IH.
It has also allowed RCMP members to build relationships with people with ongoing issues.
“Some even call the detachment and ask to speak to a specific officer.”
When people call to talk to an officer when they are having a bad day, it can prevent things from escalating into a potentially violent situation, he says.
“I’ve seen the change,” Woodcox said. “It’s been very positive.”