Toronto

Toronto Police Service launches mental health and addictions strategy

The Toronto Police Service is promising to better train its officers to treat people experiencing mental health crises and addiction with compassion.

Officer training will focus on skills like de-escalation techniques, bias-free policing

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders announced his force's new mental health and addictions strategy during a news conference at headquarters Monday morning. (CBC)

The Toronto Police Service is promising to better train its officers to treat people experiencing mental health crises and addiction with compassion.

The service makes the commitment in a new strategy for mental health and addictions it launched today.

The strategy was developed with the city's police services board, its former mental health sub-committee and an external advisory panel.

The service says officer training will focus on de-escalation techniques, bias-free policing, risk assessment, and mental health and addictions awareness.

It will also teach harm-reduction principles, which aim to mitigate the negative effects of drug use without requiring abstinence.

The strategy also commits to updating training materials with ongoing input from community members who have lived experience of mental health and addiction issues.

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