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Province to fund Nanaimo’s ‘situation table’ to try to help repeat offenders

Public safety, health and social agencies will work together to try to help individuals one by one
Nanaimo RCMP and B.C. Ambulance Service respond to an incident on Nicol Street. (News Bulletin file photo)

A new method of intervention will be put in place to try to help people who are repeat offenders or at risk on Nanaimo’s streets.

The B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General announced Friday that it will provide a $30,000 grant for a ‘situation table’ program to be set up in Nanaimo.

The program brings together representatives from health, public safety and social service agencies to identify, for example, “vulnerable individuals or families who have a significant probability of criminal offending or experiencing harm or victimization,” and co-operate to connect those individuals with services that may be helpful, noted the release from the ministry.

Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson, before she became B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions, presented to Nanaimo city council about situation tables.

“To better connect vulnerable people with the services that can prevent crisis, crime and disorder, situation tables problem-solve one case at a time, so at-risk individuals get the help they need,” said Malcolmson in a press release Friday.

Nanaimo city council voted unanimously last summer to look into situation tables and Coun. Erin Hemmens suggested in Friday’s press release that situation tables align with the city’s health and housing action plan.

“By bringing together front-line workers from various agencies and not-for-profits with RCMP, we’ll ensure our responses to people in crisis are appropriately tailored to individual needs,” she said.

According to the province, 10 situation tables are operating around the province and work is underway on another 11.

”We want to see all people, particularly those who are vulnerable and high risk, receive the right support and services they need, when they need them,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, in the release. “By investing in creating these teams in communities throughout the province, we’re helping front-line workers rapidly connect with people in crisis, while freeing up police to focus on serious and organized criminal activity.”

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo will look into ‘situation tables’ to address social disorder

OP-ED: Situation tables can reduce crime and improve community safety

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