SURREY — Two Surrey councillors opposed the top cop’s performance measures and targets presented at Monday’s public safety committee meeting.
But with Mayor Linda Hepner and the other councillors voting in favour of it, Chief Supt. Bill Fordy’s plans still passed.
The detachment plans to reduce violent crime, B&Es and domestic violence by two per cent per year, working from 2014 statistics, for the next three years.
When it comes to property crime, auto crime, traffic fatalities and traffic injuries, the detachment is aiming to reduce the number of incidents by five per cent.
The opposing councillors didn’t take issue with those targets, but rather the baseline from which the detachment plans to improve.
This was the second time Fordy brought the Surrey RCMP’s strategic framework for 2015-2017 to the committee.
City council sent Fordy back to the drawing board in August after reviewing the plan that Coun. Dave Woods called “ambiguous.”
Woods and Coun. Tom Gill want the RCMP to be improving from a five-year rolling crime stat average – not just attempting to improve from 2014’s numbers.
In response, Fordy explained Surrey is already below the five-year average in many areas.
“It wouldn’t be a reduction. So it’s not really a goal. We could easily get it, but it’s not a reduction in crime,” Fordy said.
But Woods argued it would demonstrate the city is “ahead of the curve.”
“We’re already ahead of the curve,” Fordy stressed. “Our goal is to do an even better job.”
But that didn’t appease Woods’ concerns.
“I’m not prepared to support this because it’s basically the same old stuff we’ve done before,” Woods said. “Just going from one year to the next year to the next year to the next year, I don’t think it gives the public any perception or any understanding as to what’s happening in the bigger picture in the City of Surrey with regards to crime. The city, Madame Mayor, I’m sorry, does not have a good reputation when it comes to crime…. The city has come a long way when it comes to crime and this is a good news story. But this story is not getting out.”
Gill was not convinced, either.
He acknowledged the fact that it’s uncommon for police detachments to use five-year averages as baselines for improvement, as Fordy explained in his report, but Gill hopes Surrey can set a new standard.
“The opportunity that we have in Surrey, given that we have the largest RCMP detachment in Canada, that we may in fact be able to develop best practices. That is my goal,” said Gill.
Some in the community question whether 100 new officers are the answer to Surrey’s crime problems, according to Gill, and whether that money has been well spent.
“I think with the addition of the director of public safety that perhaps this will be an area we’ll be working on and improving and that hopefully we would have a new tool a year down the road to be able to assist us with benchmarking, to see what resources are required and what resources are short,” Gill said.