SURREY – Somebody call Dr. Stephen Hawking. Maybe he can figure out how many new RCMP officers are being dispatched to Surrey.
Last winter the city requested 100 more police officers for Surrey, and the pressure’s mounting for the federal government to deliver as the number of shootings in Surrey and North Delta since the beginning of March now stands at 43. Police believe many of those are related to a dial-a-dope turf war.
The numbers flew Monday as Canada’s Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney spoke with reporters at North Delta’s public safety building.
"I am pleased to confirm that since the beginning of the fiscal year there is more, 33 more officers that have been located in Surrey. We committed to 100 additional more officers. Seven are already here and more than a dozen are on their way," Blaney said. Asked how many are here now, Blaney replied, "Since April 1, there was 33 new RCMP officer in Surrey, working on the ground."
"Seven more officers, sorry, six additional are being added. More than a dozen is on the way," he said. "And this is part of the commitment of 100 additional officers that would be committed. So there is 33 plus 100 more additional officers that are coming down in Surrey. Of this 100 officers there is six already on the ground plus a dozen coming. They are coming as soon as they are graduated from depot."
On June 11, Blaney told the House of Commons that the deployment of the first 20 of 100 "is already underway" and "that boots are already on the ground."
A reporter asked, "Are you sure this time?" "Well there is already 33 which is a good number," he replied. "Plus the six, plus a dozen on the way. There’s a lot of numbers circulating."
How many will arrive prior to October’s federal election?
"I can commit to this number," Blaney replied. "The number is evolving every day. There’s going to be more officers coming in the coming weeks. We will keep you updated."
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner told the Now on Wednesday that 15 more Mounties – above and beyond the six Blaney had mentioned – will be in Surrey in four to six weeks, making for 20 per cent of what the city asked for.
"In four to six weeks I will have 21 of them," Hepner said. "You can trust my number – it took me two and a half hours to get to it."