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Surrey first in BC with multi-agency approach to risk intervention

Partners for SMART initiative

December 7, 2015

The Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table (SMART) is an innovative new approach to assisting those who are at imminent risk of harm, victimization, or criminality. A first in BC, SMART will see local agencies working together in a new way to mitigate risk before crisis can occur in the lives of individuals and families living in Surrey’s City Centre.

SMART is made up of human service professionals from a variety of disciplines including law enforcement, corrections, housing, health, social services, income assistance, and education. Each week, the SMART group meets to review cases where the referring agency believes there is a high probability of immediate harm for an individual or family. If the group determines this is a situation of elevated risk, the appropriate agencies will execute an intervention plan within 24-48 hours.

SMART was modelled after the established “Hub” model which originated in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and has been implemented in communities across Canada and the United States over the past four years. This model has been instrumental in reducing high risk indicators such as child protection cases, violent crimes, and emergency room admissions. SMART is the first Hub model to launch in British Columbia.

"The Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table is another tool in British Columbia's arsenal to ensure communities feel safe, and that families are safe," says Gordon Hogg, MLA for Surrey-White Rock. “Our Government is proud to be a part of SMART, an initiative that is leading the way for B.C. by focusing on collaboration, risk assessment and rapid response to reach those most vulnerable and at risk of harm. Through SMART, individuals will be able to gain access to services before harm occurs to themselves or others, helping to keep communities safe."

“The City of Surrey is a city of innovation and SMART is a game changer for how we reduce risk and help people in our City Centre who are dealing with high risk social issues,” says Mayor Linda Hepner. “I believe this approach will not only improve lives, but save lives. SMART will also result in increased savings as it uses existing services that are already in place and addresses risk proactively.”

Spearheaded by the Surrey RCMP, SMART represents a paradigm shift in public safety and wellness by recognizing that the police cannot and should not shoulder the responsibility for the health and safety of a community alone.

“In 2014, we determined that 37% of our calls for service related to chargeable offences while the remainder dealt with social issues such as poverty, substance abuse, homelessness, and mental health,” says Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge, Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy. “We cannot fix social issues by simply making arrests. Our hope is that, through SMART’s proactive, multi-agency approach, people who are most at risk of harm will be helped before they even need to deal with police.”

The partners of the Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table (SMART) are:

  • BC Housing
  • City of Surrey
  • Fraser Health
  • Lookout Emergency Aid Society
  • Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • Ministry of Justice (Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch, Corrections Branch, Policing and Security Branch)
  • Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
  • Surrey RCMP
  • Surrey School District
  • Private Sector – represented by Kirk Fisher of the Lark Group
  • Business Sector for City Centre – represented by James Stewart, Chair of the Surrey Downtown Business Improvement Association

QUOTES

Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association, James Stewart, Chair
“The business community has been supportive of the SMART initiative from the beginning. We believe whole-heartedly in the value of initiatives like SMART that use innovative strategies to help those at risk of imminent harm in our City. In the case of SMART, we have been particularly gratified by the commitment and energy brought to the process by the RCMP, the City of Surrey and by all of the various ministries and other organizations involved.”

Fraser Health, Andy Libbiter, Executive Director, Mental Health and Substance Use Services
“We are proud to join forces with our SMART partners, helping some of the most vulnerable members of our community access health care when they need it most.”

Lookout Emergency Aid Society, Jodi Sturge, Deputy Executive Director
“The SMART response aligns with the Lookout Society’s approach of involving community partners and services while addressing complex issues such as poverty and homelessness. Many of the people we serve are at risk and will directly benefit from the SMART collaboration.”

Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation, Morten Bisgaard, Manager of Field Services - Integration
“We are always looking at ways to improve our services to ensure our services can be provided in a manner that reflects the needs of clients. SMART is an innovative way to help some of those who are most at risk in Surrey.”

Surrey Board of Education, Shawn Wilson, Chairperson
“Our board has long seen the benefits and successes of involving community partners to more effectively address complex issues and we look forward to contributing to the SMART initiative.”

 

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Media contacts

Sgt. Paul Hayes
Surrey RCMP Media Relations Unit
Office: 604-599-7776
Email: surrey_media_relations@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Oliver Lum
Communications Manager
Office of the Mayor, City of Surrey
604-591-4519
owlum@surrey.ca