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Surrey mayor says 11 more SPS officers not ‘big dent in the need’

Surrey Police Service deploying 11 more police officers to city’s ‘frontline’
Police investigate Feb. 2 shooting at 84 Avenue and Scott Road. (Photo: Anna Burns)

The Surrey Police Service is deploying 11 more police officers to the city’s “frontline,” making for nearly 200 SPS officers now deployed under the Surrey RCMP’s command as Surrey’s policing transition ramps up.

The latest group, the first contingent of SPS officers deployed in 2024, consists of four sergeants and seven constables.

“There is no doubt that 2024 will be a significant year for the growth and development of Surrey Police Service,” SPS Chief Constable Norm Lipinski stated in a press release issued Feb. 5. “I continue to be impressed by the work done by our officers on the frontline and this latest group of SPS officers will continue the great customer service and police work that SPS is becoming known for here in Surrey.”

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke said “the more frontline officers we can get from Surrey Police Service, the better for the RCMP.

“Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to provide very many, and 11 is a very modest number,” she said. “When you consider that this was supposed to be fully operational by April 1, 2021, 11 officers, we’re happy to take them, but it doesn’t really make a very big dent in the need.”

“There’s still in excess of 100 that are not deployable and that’s something Surrey is paying for and just not getting value for our money.”

READ ALSO: Man shot at 84 Avenue and Scott Road Friday afternoon

According to media reports, Mounties through their health benefits can now access up to $75,000 for “gender-affirming procedures” that aren’t covered by provincial health plans. The Now-Leader has reached out to RCMP National Headquarters for confirmation.

“I’m not going to get into the HR issue that the federal government is dealing with,” Locke said. “I think the RCMP are making every attempt to try to be as compassionate and extend as much outreach as they can with their members to represent communities, all communities of this country.”

Meantime, the Safe Surrey Coalition unleashed a scathing press release Feb. 5 aimed at Locke charging that recent “reckless” shootings “are a direct consequence” of the mayor’s “petty and vindictive politics that are undermining public safety in our city.”

“We cannot afford to let our streets become a battleground, where innocent members of the public, including seniors and children, could be caught in the crossfire of reckless violence” Coun. Doug Elford stated in the press release.

The press release states 50 SPS officers are ready to be deployed but Locke is “intentionally blocking” this.

“These 50 SPS officers, if allowed to be deployed, would bring much-needed boots on the ground and significantly increase police presence throughout Surrey” Coun. Mandeep Nagra stated in the release.

Locke replied it’s “despicable that an elected official would fear-monger the way that they are.

“They should know full well that Surrey has seen a decline in our crime severity index for the last decade. They should also know that they, the Safe Surrey Coalition members, were the ones that refused in 2018 to provide any additional policing resources to the city over the last four years. It wasn’t until our council came in that we’ve added additional resources.”

“In that time, in that four years when they were in power this city grew by almost 60,000 people and they didn’t add one more firefighter, not one more police officer and not one bylaw officer,” she said. “So I think for them to play politics is just really despicable and I’m absolutely disappointed in the Safe Surrey Coalition.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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