Action Accord Statistical Review For 2016

As the Action Accord has done since its inception, it is presenting statistical data and tracking of key annual indicators about how the various agencies are dealing with incidents of public intoxication. The purpose for this statistically based update report is to provide data with which Action Accord partners, as well as other organizations, can make decisions and take action as required.

One of the Action Accord’s core goals is to encourage the expansion of stabilization services and facilities for people who are detained for intoxication but have not committed a crime. Greater availability of stabilization services means that people have increased access to the resources and referrals that are needed to assist them in moving along the path to recovery.

The five Action Accord partners – Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners, Saskatoon Tribal Council, Saskatoon Police Service (SPS), Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and Saskatoon Health Region – have been part of the Action Accord since its beginning and remain partners today.

The key changes over the five year time frame covered in this report include the launch of the Community Support Program (CSP) Officers in the city centre in 2012 and the opening of The Lighthouse Stabilization Centre in 2013, which has since been accompanied by a number of service expansions as well as some funding curtailments.

1.     Overall Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) Intoxication Arrests:

After a steady decline in the number of Saskatoon Police Service intoxication arrests where intoxicated persons were held in SPS police service cells, the frequency moved back up during 2016. The priority of SPS Officers is to determine if the person detained can be placed in the care of capable and responsible persons such as family, or by accessing The Lighthouse Stabilization Centre or Brief Detoxification Unit (BDU). These non-police-cell options are used whenever circumstances allow and when the preferred venues are available.

2. SPS Referrals to The Lighthouse: 

After a steady decline in the number of Saskatoon Police Service intoxication arrests where intoxicated persons were held in SPS police service cells, the frequency moved back up during 2016. The priority of SPS Officers is to determine if the person detained can be placed in the care of capable and responsible persons such as family, or by accessing The Lighthouse Stabilization Centre or Brief Detoxification Unit (BDU). These non-police-cell options are used whenever circumstances allow and when the preferred venues are available.

3. SPS Referrals to the Brief Detoxification Unit (BDU):

The Brief Detoxification Unit, with its access to addictions treatment services, is a highly desirable alternative to holding intoxicated persons in a police service cell when possible to do so. The demand for those services, however, has meant that the BDU has been “too full, too early in the day” to allow the Saskatoon Police Service to use the facility as an alternative to police service cells as often as they would like. Although access to the BDU improved for the Police Service when The Lighthouse came on stream in 2013, its availability for SPS referrals began to decline to previous levels during 2015 and 2016.

4. Total Number of Intoxication Arrests Plus Referrals to Lighthouse / BDU:

As above, after reaching a peak in 2015, the total number of intoxication arrests and referrals by SPS dropped off significantly in 2015 and 2016. This improvement may be a reflection of increased availability of self-check-in capacity through either BDU or The Lighthouse as well as the introduction of the Community Support Program. 

5. Intoxication Arrests and Referrals by Venue: 

As a summary of the first four charts, the number of people housed in “more preferable locations”, namely BDU and The Lighthouse, increased up to 2014 and then formed a smaller portion of the “venues in which housed” in 2015 and 2016. From 2013 on, however, it should be noted that the Community Support Program had been introduced into the system in an effort to deal with “street issues right on the streets” in a more proactive manner, thereby reducing the frequency of arrests for intoxication.

6. Community Support Program (CSP):

A relevant indicator of “activity on the streets”, particularly in the city centre, is the data gathered by the Community Support Program. Launched in 2012, this initiative is funded by the Downtown, Broadway and Riversdale Business Improvement Districts. Community Support Officers assist with a range of calls including addictions, intoxications and disturbances. The intent of the program is to deal with these issues in a proactive manner, right “on the street”, by linking people in need of assistance with the required resources. It should be noted that not all CSP activity is intoxication-related but that does form a substantial portion of CSP Officers’ work. 

7. Intoxication and Street Activity:

Intoxication on the streets was addressed primarily by Police Service arrests and SPS cell detention in 2012. By 2016, SPS, The Lighthouse, BDU and CSP Officers were part of the equation. 

8. Lighthouse Stabilization Centre:

 While most of the data presented focuses on the interaction between SPS and support facilities, the total intake, including self-check-in at The Lighthouse Stabilization Centre, is relevant to an accurate view of the system. SPS referrals to The Lighthouse comprise a small portion of the Lighthouse’s total intake with the majority being those who access Lighthouse services on their own. 

9. Total Activity:

The combined activity – that includes SPS detentions for intoxication, referrals to The Lighthouse Stabilization Centre and to the BDU, the self-check-in statistics at The Lighthouse and BDU, as well as the number of individuals served through CSP activity – does convey an unmistakable trend line regarding the increasing demand for these services in Saskatoon. 

10.     Action Accord “Report Card”:

To return to the central purpose of the Action Accord, the five partner consortium was established to work for greater availability of stabilization services so that those intoxicated in public have increased access to the resources and referrals that are needed to assist them in moving along the path to recovery. 

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In 2012, the primary resources available for dealing with cases of public intoxication were Saskatoon Police Service cells plus the CSP program, launched part way through that year, and limited availability of space at the BDU. The introduction of the Community Support Program Officers in 2012 and the Lighthouse Stabilization Centre in 2013 has meant that, from 2013 to 2016, despite the significant run- up in “activity within the system”, the majority of people in need of this assistance are receiving it from the agencies best equipped to access resources and referrals. 

The ongoing work of the Action Accord is supported by the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners in order to ensure the delivery of co-ordinated stabilization services. 

You can download a PDF version of the report here.