REID: Throw red card at Surrey’s gangsters and illegal suites, not rogue soccer games

Amy Reid column logo

How many officers does it take to shut down a soccer game in Surrey? Three, apparently.

Growing up, my brother and his friends would grab a soccer ball and head down to a local field to play a game or two on a nice day.

Just some friends getting together to enjoy the weather and each other’s company, and get some exercise while they’re at it.

The last thing they’d ever expect is to be booted off the field by law enforcement.

But that’s what happened to a group of men in Surrey last week.

A video posted to Facebook began making the rounds on the social media site and soon enough, reporters – including yours truly – took notice.

The video shows one bylaw officer and two cops telling a group of men to leave. You need a permit, they’re told. If you don’t like it, take it up with the city.

Say what? To absolutely no one’s surprise, the story exploded online.

Needing a permit to play a friendly game of soccer is ridiculous to pretty much anyone.

As it turns out, the city says this was a "miscommunication" and if the men were just playing a friendly game, they should’ve been allowed to stay.

I sure hope so. With that detail taken care of, I’d now like to address the fact that three law enforcement professionals were called in to deal with this.

Let’s deal with the bylaw officer first.

As a reporter, I’m constantly fielding calls and emails about a perceived lack of bylaw enforcement. Illegal secondary suites is probably the hottest topic.

Given that Surrey has a measly 31 bylaw officers to cover the entire city, hounding people for playing soccer games at parks seems like it would be the least of the department’s worries.

Jas Rehal, Surrey’s bylaw enforcement manager, tells me this officer was monitoring the location of the incident due to several calls about rowdy behaviour at the park.

Well, OK, that makes sense.

But kicking the guys off the field doesn’t.

Bylaws aside, the fact that two RCMP officers were called in to deal with this issue blows my mind.

We’re in the midst of a shooting spree – the tally has passed 40 in the last four months. And at a Whalley Community Improvement Association meeting Wednesday morning, the group called for police to target the issue of public drunkenness, which has been affecting local residents and businesses.

That’s why I was surprised to see two cops dealing with this issue – a soccer game.

Apparently, they were called by the bylaw officer.

Currently, the Surrey RCMP detachment has 703 officers. And Mayor Linda Hepner tells me Surrey has yet to see any of the 100 officers that the city’s been promised for this year.

What good are new cops going to do if they’re sent to deal with things like soccer games?

We’ve got way bigger problems.

Amy Reid can be reached at areid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Surrey high school robotics team ranked first in the world for programming

Enver Creek’s seniors team also named tournament finalists at VEX Robotics Competition on Feb. 1

Snowfall warning issued for Surrey, Langley

Environment Canada warns to ‘be on the lookout for adverse weather conditions and take necessary safety precautions’

Lost a ring? This White Rock man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

PHOTOS: Family Day celebrated at Historic Stewart Farm

Youngsters participate in some old fashioned fun

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Okanagan ski resort officials displeased with Family Day roll-out

From one peak of the Okanagan to the other, resort officials have raised concerns

Ten Surrey students receive $5,000 scholarships

The Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarships will help fund their university education

Man shot dead in front of Kamloops hotel may be case of mistaken identity: RCMP

Rex Gill, 44, was not previously known to Kamloops police unlike second shooting victim

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

5 to start your day

IHIT investing South Surrey homicide, B.C.’s budget set to focus on climate change, poverty and more

Most Read