White Rock RCMP has suspended community policing volunteer activities. (File photo)

White Rock RCMP has suspended community policing volunteer activities. (File photo)

RCMP temporarily close front-counter service in South Surrey, Cloverdale due to COVID-19 concern

White Rock detachment suspends community policing volunteer activities

Two of the Surrey RCMP’s six front-counter locations have been temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a news release issued Tuesday afternoon, the measure took effect at the South Surrey (1815 152 St.) and Cloverdale (5732 176A St.) district offices at 5 p.m. March 17.

The step is “to ensure the continuing safety of our essential services staff during the COVID-19 pandemic,” and the two sites were chosen because there is no glass barrier at the counter, the release states.

“Police response in all areas will not be impacted and routine police operations will continue within these facilities,” the release adds. “At this time, our front counters remain open at our City Centre, Guildford, Newton, and Main Detachment locations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has generated the need for extraordinary consideration of the health and safety of Surrey residents and of our police officers, employees, volunteers and Auxiliaries. We appreciate the understanding of the public as we make these changes which will help to ensure we are able to continue to meet the public safety needs of the community throughout the on-going pandemic.”

READ MORE: B.C. coronavirus cases jump by 83, public health emergency declared

READ MORE: B.C. launches online COVID-19 self-assessment tool

In White Rock, Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls said that activities by community policing volunteers has been suspended “in the short term” in alignment with provincial health recommendations.

“We have also cancelled or postponed many community engagement activities to adhere to the advice on social distancing,” Pauls said Tuesday.

While the detachment’s front-counter service (at 15299 Pacific Ave.) remains open, there are “limitations on fingerprint requests,” Pauls said.

He noted officers will continue to respond to calls for service, but follow-up for non-urgent matters may be conducted by phone. As well, anyone calling police for service may be asked questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms, “to better inform the officers attending.”

“There will be no reduction in police emergency services,” Pauls said.

“We encourage people to use the non-emergency line (778-593-3600) instead of coming to the detachment. If people are coming to the detachment with signs of COVID-19, they will be asked to use the phone outside of the detachment. The front counter service operations will be assessed daily.”

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