BC Liberals say they will invest in public safety to make communities safer

A BC Liberal government will make cities safer with more effective community policing and will invest in integrated police and mental health teams to free up police resources to deal with growing street disorder in communities.

The BC Liberals said on Wednesday that they will also increase the capacity of existing Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Teams and fund more police officers to respond to crime and mental health-related emergency calls throughout our province.

As crime rates rise in many parts of the province — including a 21-per cent rise in aggravated assaults and assaults with a weapon in Vancouver this year alone — the victims include both bystanders and people struggling with mental health and addictions issues.

To ensure that communities and — especially our most vulnerable are kept safe — the BC Liberals said they will expand the proven public safety model already in place in Vancouver, Kamloops, and Surrey by increasing capacity with 100 more psychiatric social workers/nurses and 200 more police officers.

“John Horgan and the NDP haven’t taken these issues seriously at all,” said BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson. “We need to give first responders the right tools to deal effectively with mental health-related events and their staffing to ensure public safety.”

With a $58 million investment, a BC Liberal government will:

  • Fund the hiring of 200 additional police officers across the province and 100 more psychiatric social workers/nurses.
  • Establish more Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Teams to respond to mental health-related emergency calls.
  • Hire 40 additional, full-time Crown prosecutors and additional support staff to process charges and hear criminal trials in the court system.
  • Provide the B.C. Prosecution Service with needed tools to reduce delays, aggressively crackdown on crime, and improve public safety.
  • Work with the court system to adopt technology innovations to reduce COVID-19 related backlogs and conduct trials more effectively and quickly, in order to expedite decisions, reduce trial delays and ensure timely justice for criminals.

“We need to strike the right balance by making sure the police have the tools to do their jobs and working with mental health professionals to tackle both issues together,” said Wilkinson. “Everyone in B.C. needs to feel safe and supported. Our law enforcement teams play a key role and deserve our support and the best available tools to ensure public safety for everyone.”