The Mental Health Commission of Canada is giving recommendations to police officers on how to better handle their interactions with the mentally ill.

The new report includes 16 recommendations of how officers can learn how to recognize the signs of mental illness, and use communication as a tool to diffuse situations.

“We need to work very hard internally and externally in police agencies to address that,” said Terry Coleman, one of the report’s authors.

Greater Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen said officers are already following some of that advice.

“When we get there, all we see is a person sometimes with a weapon and often threatening others,” Pederson said. “And that's the difficult challenge for the front line."

Pedersen added that the police service will review the recommendations with an eye to implementing what suits the city.