Longueuil Police Will Begin A Pilot Project With Unarmed Officers

On Tuesday, the Quebec government announced a $3.5-million grant to the Longueuil police service (SPAL) to test a new policing model with a number of unarmed police officers.

A press release put out by the office of Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault called the "Policiers RÉSO project" a "promising approach that could contribute to defining a new policing model in Quebec."

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The aim is to "put in place a team of hand-picked police officers whose activities will be guided by the principles of availability, visibility and accessibility."

These officers will undergo an intensive five-week "citizen immersion course" where they will be immersed in the community without weapons or uniforms in order to "raise awareness and influence his or her vision and approach in the field."

Ultimately, the new model is designed to "help the most vulnerable people, such as those suffering from addiction or homelessness, the elderly, or victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or abuse."

The government has also set aside a yearly investment of $300,000 for a "psychosocial intervention support team."

"A closer relationship between our police officers and our citizens will generate a better understanding on both sides, and thus favour interventions that are more preventive than repressive," said Guilbault.