Police in Surrey work with 23 community partners but Surrey RCMP’s most important partner is the actual community, says officer-in-charge Dwayne McDonald.
“As police, our mandate is to prevent crime, to intervene in crime and to enforce through law when required, but we cannot do that without the co-operation and the consent of the entire community.”
McDonald was speaking to the crowd at the Surrey RCMP’s first public safety fair, held at Salish Secondary on Saturday (Nov. 2), to help kick off National Crime Prevention Week.
At the event, the Surrey RCMP showcased its “collaborative prevention and intervention programs with local partners, and inform the public on how they can get involved in public safety.”
Inspector Wendy Mehat introduced the newest program from the Surrey RCMP at todayâs Public Safety Fair. #ProjectLavender is a presentation designed by youth for youth, to help build resiliency and self-worth. @Surrey_Schools https://t.co/1kAaw9Ogro pic.twitter.com/aYZ52ppkYK
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) November 2, 2019
Asked if he thinks residents are aware of the role they play in policing the community, McDonald said he believes the public is aware that “opportunities” exist.
“But sometimes it’s incumbent upon us to encourage and invite people to join in on those opportunities,” he told the Now-Leader. “We all have busy lives… and unless you turn your mind to the engagement opportunities that are out there, sometimes you just get caught up in life. like any event, oftentimes all it takes is an invitation or personal connection and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The idea for the fair, McDonald said, has been in the works for “quite some time.”
“We, always, are looking for ways to get greater engagement, a greater connection. Usually with a bigger venue and you bring in barbecue and food trucks, there’s a much more likelihood that we’ll be able to draw more people in.”
He said that typically in the past, the Surrey RCMP would go out to each individual district in the city and hold smaller meetings.
Community engagement is “very important” to the Surrey RCMP and is one of its “key strategic priorities,” McDonald said.
“The reason is, without an engaged community, that supports the policing efforts that we do, we can’t be effective. In order to understand what you need, and what the public safety priorities are for you, we employ a wide variety of initiatives to engage with you.”
More than a dozen partner organizations were on hand Saturday, including the Surrey school district, Vision Zero Surrey, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, Surrey Urban Mission Society, the Fleetwood and Downtown Surrey business improvement associations and Surrey Fire Service.
“I think all of us are here because we share a basic belief, and that is that we have the right to live in a healthy and a safe community,” McDonald said. “Your presence shows that you have the understanding that the job of protecting and improving public safety doesn’t rest just solely with the police, but it rests with us collectively, as part of a greater community.”