Two Surrey councillors say a newly released survey on police transition issues “prove that there is a disconnect between (Mayor Doug) McCallum and the residents of Surrey.”
The Surrey Police Issues Study and survey, released Monday, was commissioned by “a group of concerned citizens” and sponsored by a group called Keep RCMP in Surrey, said Ivan Scott the leader of the group petitioning the city.
Scott said he believes the group is “completely vindicated” by the results.
“One of the things that Mr. McCallum has said is that he speaks for the people and at this particular point in time, on this particular issue, he does not speak for the people. According to this, his popularity is at an all-time low,” Scott said.
In the joint release, independent Surrey councilllors Jack Hundial and Brenda Locke said the Surrey Police Issues Study was conducted by residents “because what they were hearing from local citizens did not line up with Mayor McCallum’s often repeated claims that he was speaking on behalf of the people” for the city’s policing transition.
“The survey results prove that there is a disconnect between McCallum and the residents of Surrey,” they added.
The study, which surveyed 400 Surrey residents, was conducted between Sept. 6 and 8 using “live interviewers and included landlines and wireless phone numbers.”
The study asked respondents if “things are going in the right direction or the wrong track?”; and whether people have a “strongly favourable, somewhat favourable, somewhat unfavourable or very unfavourable opinion” of McCallum and the RCMP.
Seven per cent of respondents said they found McCallum “very favourable,” 25 per cent found him “somewhat favourable,” 20 per cent found him “somewhat unfavourable,” 26 per cent found him “very unfavourable” and six per cent “do not recognize the name.” Forty-four per cent said they found the RCMP “very favourable,” 37 per cent found RCMP “somewhat favourable,” five per cent found RCMP “somewhat unfavourable” and five per cent found RCMP “very unfavourable.”
The study, Locke said, came about after the City of Surrey released its Citizen Consultation Survey on the police transition on June 24, which said there was “overwhelming support” for the proposed Surrey force, following a five-week period of 23 public engagement events throughout Surrey.
In that survey, the city said 11,103 responses were received and “key findings” from it included 93 per cent of respondents strongly agreeing or agreeing that “It’s time that Surrey had a police department that is locally led”; and that 98 per cent strongly agreed or agreed that “I believe our police department should prioritize its efforts based on what is important to Surrey citizens.”
When the city’s survey results were released in June, McCallum stated in a release that the responses “speak volumes about the overwhelming support the citizens of Surrey have for the creation of a Surrey Police Department.”
“It is clear to me that the people of Surrey are ready for the switch to a city police department and it is my desire to deliver on their wishes.”
On Tuesday, Locke said the new survey is a “good information piece” and “tells us that the city’s survey of public opinion was flawed, first of all, but it certainly shows that there is a real discrepancy in what the city says is public support and what is public support.”
Hundial, who has been critical of the city’s survey results, said the latest study gives a “really clear direction from people.” He said when he looks at the results, it tells him “people don’t like the mayor and people want to the keep the RCMP.”