Twelve more Surrey Police Service officers have joined the 29 who are already patrolling city streets with Surrey Mounties as both agencies continue to grapple with COVID-19 absences.
“We’re pretty excited about that,” Ian MacDonald, media liaison for the SPS, said Friday. “First thing Monday morning.”
Spokespeople with both police forces told the Now-Leader on Friday they couldn’t provide the number of officers and staff stricken with COVID-19 or awaiting test results but as some cycle out of work, others cycle back in.
Const. Sarbit Sangha of the Surrey RCMP said “there’s an ongoing fluctuation of members getting sick and members getting better and coming back to work.
“But we do have enough resources on the front line so we’re not short of members at any point,” Sangha said.
“It’s not impacting the services because of the emergency operation centre that was set up at the beginning of 2021 when we got into this, that we are able to manage the resources so we are pulling members from other units if we need if but so far it’s been manageable that we have enough resources to fulfill our duties.”
On Jan. 10, Cpl. Vanessa Munn said the Surrey RCMP won’t be providing further updates on the numbers, “or day-by-day counts, at the direction of E Division.
“It’s very cumbersome and it’s hard to be accurate because the numbers fluctuate so much,” she explained.
MacDonald said he couldn’t provide an exact count of the number of officers and staff off work on account of Omicron but, like the RCMP, employees are cycling in and out.
“I think the numbers have gone up,” he said. “I guess the good news is the people that I’m aware of, most of them that were either coming down or suspected, in an abundance of caution, that they could have Omicron COVID have come back, but of course as the province is still going through a wave it’s still impacting the workplace.”
MacDonald said the SPS, as far as its own workplace is concerned, now has one employee per office, “so for example people who have shared offices, we’re doing a combination of work from home and alternate days and those types of things, and minimizing movement through the hallways.
“So in other words, if you are on the upper floor, our request is that you stay on the upper floor unless you absolutely need to go to another building or another part of a building, and vice-versa if you’re on another floor, stay where you are, stay in your worksite.”