Mayor Urged To Stop Police Including Mental Health-Related Contacts in Record Checks
Posted: Jul 28, 2011
Mental Health Clinician and NPA School Board candidate Sophia Woo and NPA City Council candidate Mike Klassen are urging Mayor Robertson to use his role as chair of the Police Board to stop Vancouver police from including non-criminal contacts with police in their records.
Non-violent mental health related interactions such as police transport to health facilities/hospitals for the safety of a person are now in reports and show up in police record checks.
"The information is quite misleading and leaves a black mark on an individual's record," says Woo. "Employers and volunteer groups seeing this are negatively influenced when considering the individual for a paid or volunteer position. The practice also affects the behaviour of applicants.
Recognition that a mental health incident will show up deters the individual from even applying for a position."
Some occupations, such as police work, require certain degrees of psychological fitness from staff. While public safety is essential, Woo says we have to recognize human rights which require medical history remain private.
Woo and Klassen say new regulations are required for what is included for record checks. Responses to a suicide attempt or escorting a person to hospital for a mental health incident should not be included.
"Mental health problems are health issues and should be treated as confidential," adds Woo.
"The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police issued new guidelines limiting the information on the mentally ill going into reports," says Klassen. "Mayor Robertson should also initiate a review here in Vancouver. People with mental illness in our city are having their records unfairly tarnished and delay is not an option."
Mike Klassen, President of Thinking Cap Inc., Fraser Street Community Leader and popular Blogger.
Sophia Woo, Mental Health Clinician and Community Leader.