The success of the Regina Police and Crisis Team (PACT) in its first year of operation has resulted in more funding for increased services beginning in September 2017.
The Regina Board of Police Commissioners has received a one-year analysis of the impact of PACT, which is a partnership between the Regina Police Service and the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region. The results of the evaluation indicate the Team’s first full year of operation has had a positive impact in the city of Regina and there are plans to expand the service in future.
“Our government is committed to a patient-centred approach to health care,” said Health Minister Jim Reiter. “The innovative approach of PACT supports the health system’s Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Initiative, as well as the recommendations in our government’s inter-ministerial Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan. This coordinated effort better addresses the needs of some of our most vulnerable people, and I’m very pleased to see the success and growth of this program”.
PACT currently consists of a full-time mental health professional and a police officer. The goal of PACT is to help people in the community who are experiencing mental illness and/or addiction. The Team does this by connecting vulnerable persons with appropriate resources in the community and streamlining access to mental health and addiction services. The intervention occurs when police are dispatched to a call for service and recognize (through training) that the call involves persons who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
In September of 2017, PACT will be expanded by an additional team to help alleviate pressures on the RPS front-line and RQHR when dealing with people in crisis. Currently, the PACT Team responds to potential clients through RPS dispatch five days per week, Monday through Friday, nine hours per day. The expansion will provide staffing for two shifts in September, which allows one PACT team to be on the street providing service 12 hours a day, seven (7) days a week. Moving to a seven day a week schedule for the PACT Team will result in improved accessibility and better outcomes for the citizens of Regina.
“PACT has been an important addition to our skills and resources on the street,” said Acting Chief Dean Rae of the Regina Police Service. “This approach helps us to stabilize those in crisis and get them the help they need. Ultimately, it’s better for the safety and well-being of the individual and the community.”
“RQHR prioritized additional financial support for this program within its annual provincial funding because we recognized the value of this important service that was being provided to vulnerable people in need in our community,” said RQHR President and CEO Keith Dewar. “This expansion will help us to provide better, more immediate access to services appropriate to the needs of many more mental health clients, diverting them from potential interaction with emergency rooms and police services.”
From January 1st to December 31st, 2016, PACT evaluated 980 case files. Of these files, the Team successfully intervened and assessed 334 people who required a crisis intervention:
- 83% of all interventions result in successfully linking clients with appropriate resources within the community;
- 10% of clients who received intervention from the Team were already connected to services;
- 7% declined services; and
- 13% were RPS diverted (could have been arrested, but were not)
The analysis of PACT also included looking for a measurable impact on other police resources. In 2016, front line police members were dispatched to a total of 54,398 calls for service in the City of Regina. It was not possible to examine every call, but the evaluation looked at 1,175 calls for service where mental health was an issue. The analysis revealed front line members required more than three times the average time per call, when they were dealing with mental health related issues.
Funding for the expansion of PACT is provided to the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region through the provincial Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Initiative.