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Petition calls for Quebec provincial police officers to team up with social workers on mental crisis calls


A group representing Quebec provincial police officers says members should be accompanied by social workers when responding to calls involving people who are violent and have a history of mental illness.

It's one of the demands contained in a petition from the Association des policières et policiers provinciaux du Québec (APPQ) following the death of Sgt. Maureen Breau in Louiseville, Que. last month.

The 20-year veteran of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) was fatally stabbed while performing an arrest on March 27 after responding to a call for a man who was uttering threats.

Breau and a fellow officer were reading the alleged perpetrator his rights when the man reportedly grabbed a sword and stabbed Breau. Her colleague survived the incident with minor injuries.

Two other officers who arrived at the scene then shot and killed the man.

The incident prompted the APPQ to call for changes, including clear communication so that officers responding to a 911 call dealing with someone who is mentally ill and potentially dangerous are given that information.

APPQ president Jacques Painchaud pointed to other cities where officers are often accompanied by a social worker if the call deals with someone who may be dangerous, but he said the problem is that it's not like that across the whole province.

He said in rural areas, it's especially difficult when a social worker could be hours away.

The association is also asking for stricter protocols to be put in place for offenders who are mentally ill and potentially dangerous when it comes to their release, including better follow-up.

It says the changes are necessary to protect the public.

The association says it's seen a 35 per cent increase in the number of potentially violent calls between 2018 and 2022.

The public will be able to sign the petition after it is tabled at the national assembly later this week. Top Stories

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