Surrey’s top cop emphasizes importance of face time and education at crime luncheon

"We will not arrest our way out of this issue. We will educate our way out of this issue," says Asst. RCMP Commissioner Bill Fordy

Surrey RCMP's Officer in Charge and Asst. Commissioner Bill Fordy addresses the crowd at a Surrey Board of Trade luncheon at Eaglequest Golf Course Thursday.

SURREY — Face-to-face interactions with residents “will not be replaced by new apps,” Surrey’s top cop told a crowd at a Surrey Board of Trade crime luncheon Thursday.

“Talking to each other is important. Sharing information is important. And truly sharing ownership of our community’s issues is important,” said Officer in Charge Bill Fordy at Eaglequest Golf Course.

His comments come in the midst of a shooting spree. So far this year Surrey has recorded 31 shootings incidents. Last week police arrested five people and seized 13 guns, and Fordy is confident police will put an end to the violence.

But he said the perception of crime is as important as the reality of crime. “In fact, I oftentimes think it’s more important,” he remarked.

“If an employee sees a store window broken and he hears about a theft that’s been committed at a local restaurant… he’ll perceive that it’s a bad neighbourhood even if those are the only two incidents… Similarly, a business owner in another community sees a police officer on a bike, is greeted by people acknowledging her presence, knows her local district commander…. She will likely perceive that crime is under control.”

Fordy emphasized RCMP’s efforts to engage the community, pointing to 17 safety meetings and forums over the past year, one coming up on Monday, April 18 at the Bell Centre for Performing Arts on youth, drugs and violence.

SEE MORE: Surrey RCMP hosting community forum on youth, drugs and violence

Fordy told the crowd that 60 per cent of RCMP’s calls for service involve social issues, and said a new “SMART” program is helping those in Surrey that are most vulnerable.

He said it reduces risk factors such as violence on the streets, suicide, emergency room admissions and people living on the streets.

SEE MORE: New ‘SMART’ program has helped 54 vulnerable people in Surrey in past 15 weeks

Fordy touted many other new strategies and technologies being used to enhance policing in Surrey: a focus on intelligence-led, evidence-based policing; expanding the crime analysis unit; and the creation of a Community Services Section. The officers running those units, said Fordy, are the “faces” of their districts meant to “enhance the wellness” of that particular community.

Meantime, Fordy urged businesses to talk to their employees in the workplace.

He encouraged parents to have “honest, meaningful discussions with their children” about the “value of hard work” and the “failings of the criminal lifestyle.”

“We will not arrest our way out of this issue. We will educate our way out of this issue,” he said matter-of-factly.

In the Q&A portion of his keynote speech, Fordy had some strong words.

“There are lots of wonderful things happening in the city… We have kids from Surrey who go to NASA. We have 300,000 people on the streets for Vaisakhi showing incredible community spirit with no issues. We have sports teams and soccer teams that compete on an international level,” he said. “Those things get lost and I have to be cautious, I have to be non-partisan and impartial, but it’s not lost on me that sometimes the narrative is driven by people that have a personal agenda that may not be keeping with all the great things that happen in our community.”

Darlene Bowyer, co-ordinator of Surrey Association of Sustainable Communities, took that comment as a jab at her group’s efforts. The organization has been calling for a round table meeting on Surrey’s crime issues with all three levels of government.

“I was completely alarmed at that,” said Bowyer shortly after Fordy’s comment. “We, the community, are very upset that we have this ongoing shootings… To target in his speech the people that are trying to organize meetings and trying to do better by our community, to say that we have a hidden agenda is unacceptable.”

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

White Rock open house to discuss city’s aquifer protection plan

Examination of potential hazards includes increased population, climate change

‘Connecting Threads’ and more in Surrey Art Gallery’s fall shows

Free admission at opening reception and panel discussion Sunday afternoon

SFU unveils new lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Combination of MRI, MEG allows for ‘best possible windows’ intro brain function

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by B.C. animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for shelter and local municipal election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read