Curb mental illness and Taser use will be reduced, Vancouver’s deputy chief of police said yesterday at the Braidwood Inquiry into Taser use.

Bob Rich, who is also the president of the B.C. Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police, justified the use of Tasers as a safer method of dealing with hard-to-control people suffering from mental illness that police regularly deal with.

“Tragically, if you look at the last 20 years in our shootings, 50 per cent of the people that we’ve ended up shooting and taken a life from, in police-involved shootings, were people who were suffering from mental illness,” Rich told reporters after answering the commission’s questions about the Vancouver police force’s use of Tasers.

Rich directed blame at provincial governments and society for failing to help people with mental problems.