Statement – Policing levels in Surrey
2022-11-29 16:43 PST
At last night’s City of Surrey Council Meeting, I presented on the framework to maintain the RCMP as the police of jurisdiction, which was endorsed by City Council. A joint project team will oversee the development of the final plan for Council endorsement on December 12, 2022. We will await and respect any decisions made by Council and the Province in regards to the policing transition.
This was the first opportunity I’ve had to address Mayor and Council since taking on the role of Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP over three years ago. I made it clear that my top priorities have always been and will continue to be public safety and ensuring that all officers under my command, both RCMP and SPS, go home safely at the end of their shifts. Those are my most important duties.
I have been extremely measured in my public comments in regards to transition, fully respecting that my job is to lead policing in Surrey, and not contribute to a divisive dialogue that does nothing to serve public safety or the community.
As I indicated last night, unfortunately, others have made significant efforts to create fear and misrepresent information publically, at the expense of both public and police officer safety. Today’s release by the Surrey Police Union which was then supported by Doug McCallum are prime examples.
It is not common practice for police to release exact breakdowns of operational resources on any given shift. What I can say is that the statistics and numbers provided by the SPU are inaccurate, and in my view, are deliberately intended to mislead the public. I call on the Surrey Police Service Executive to expend all efforts to discontinue this harmful rhetoric from the Surrey Police Union.
Surrey Detachment is funded for 734 positions, and is currently exceeding that target. On any given shift, on top of the Frontline resources, we have plainclothes investigation units, uniform gang and bike/foot patrols, traffic officers, uniform community policing officers, as well as a team of on call Serious Crime investigators that are called in during a major incident. We also receive significant operational support from the Lower Mainland Integrated Teams for forensics, police dogs, air services, homicide investigations and emergency response.
Our Watch Duty Officers have 24/7 control to manage resources by utilizing the above noted teams. The ability to quickly scale resources has been key in maintaining an effective and efficient police service through numerous challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, with no increase to our establishment since 2018.
In regards to our Operational Communications Centre (OCC), we have been impacted by a staff shortage of call takers and dispatchers, like many agencies across BC and Canada. Our OCC staff are City of Surrey employees, and we are working closely with the City to mitigate the affects of these shortages and we will soon have more hires in place. 911 calls have not been impacted, and for non-emergency calls, these have been prioritized or directed to a radio room Constable; alternatively the public can make use of our online reporting tools when necessary.
As stated last night, I have full confidence in our policing model. It has proven to be effective and efficient, with a reduction in crime over the past decade.
Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards
Officer in Charge, Surrey RCMP
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