Surrey’s top cop Dwayne McDonald said that while he feels “confident the city is safe,” he added Surrey “could be safer” with increased resources for 2019.
The city’s draft budget suggests that no RCMP will be added to the current force, which has 843 members currently, given the city’s intended transition to a municipal force. In 2018, 12 officers were hired.
“I feel confident that we’re safe. I think that we could be safer in the sense that an increase in resources will allow us to expand many of our successful programs , certainly in the areas of proactive policing and also with our gang enforcement team and just in general duty patrol and traffic where we see all of our significant concerns,” McDonald said after the city’s Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 11).
However, the lack of increased resources for the Surrey RCMP didn’t take centre stage at the committee meeting. Instead the postponement of the Cloverdale ice rinks was the meeting’s main focus.
McDonald said the Surrey RCMP’s “main safety concerns” are gang and gun violence, traffic safety and youth.
“So when we have a resource level that is fixed, that presents challenges as our population grows, but we’re committed to meet the public safety needs of the city in the best way we can with the resources and budget we’re given.”
Anytime the detachment doesn’t get an increase in resources, McDonald said, the Surrey RCMP has to look at its “deployment model and service delivery where adjustments need to be made.”
As for addressing the “fixed” resource level, McDonald said he meets with Mayor Doug McCallum and the Public Safety Committee. But he won’t be addressing council next Monday (Dec. 17) when the draft budget first comes to regular council.
“When the time comes to address resource issues and the plan (going) forward, then I’ll be able to do that in that venue,” he said.
Councillor Linda Annis, the lone Surrey First councillor, said earlier this week that the city needs to hire more RCMP officers despite the city’s plan to set up it’s own municipal force.
“The officer in charge for Surrey detachment had made a recommendation that we need 150 officers over the next five years and I believe that that’s very reasonable, that would provide him with the manpower that’s needed to adequately police Surrey,” Annis told the Now-Leader. “That’s minimal, based on the rapid growth Surrey is experiencing.”
– with files from Amy Reid and Tom Zytaruk