Mayoral candidate wants to know how many Surrey cops are on active patrol

Mayoral candidate wants to know how many Surrey cops are on active patrol

SURREY — The former Surrey mayor who once again wants the city’s top spot wants to know how many of the RCMP’s 673 officers are on active patrol.

Doug McCallum has filed Access to Information requests with the Surrey RCMP, he says, to “allow for greater transparency in the policing that is being provided.”

McCallum’s requests ask how many of the Surrey RCMP’s 673 officers were on patrol between July 5 and Aug. 5, and asks how many officers are on sick or stress leave, or on loan to other detachments.

The requests also ask how many uniformed and plainclothes officers there currently are.

With Surrey signing a 20-year contract with the RCMP in 2012 – 90 per cent of which it is responsible for – McCallum argues residents have a right to know how many officers are active on patrol.

“Surrey taxpayers are responsible for over $90 million per year for the RCMP detachment, yet the public cannot access information about how many officers are patrolling the streets,” said McCallum in a release. “This is unacceptable, particularly with such heightened concern about personal safety in our neighbourhoods.”

McCallum says he asks the questions because of his concern about public safety, and says community confidence is influenced by the level of open communication with elected officials and police.

During his reign, which began in 1996, McCallum drew heat over accusations he tried to boost the city’s image by muzzling RCMP spokesmen and the flow of crime information to the public. Despite that, he was elected again in 2002 and led the city until Mayor Dianne Watts defeated him in 2005.

Asked what she thought of McCallum’s request, mayoral opponent and current councillor Linda Hepner said, “I expect his motive is clear and he’ll try to utilize that data to fear monger in the community.”

areid@thenownewspaper.com