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LETTER: Little chance Surrey Police Service will find enough officers to make a full force

It is easy to quote optimistic expectations but so far, Surrey Police Service is non-entity
Surrey Police Service Chief Const. Norm Lipinski, right, with Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards in the foreground, during a joint RCMP-SPS press conference on Nov. 30, 2021, announcing the first 29 SPS officers being deployed. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

The Editor,

Re: “Two main benefits of having a police force dedicated to Surrey,” the Now-Leader, June 23.

Reading the column written by Surrey Police Service Chief Norm Lipinski, one should be encouraged by the rhetoric but regrettably, the reality of the situation is diametrically opposite.

It is easy to quote optimistic expectations and ones that would create a positive impact on the reader but so far, the Surrey Police Service is a non-entity.

In order to satisfy the optimistic aims of Chief Lipinski, he must, first and foremost, have a service that is competent to meet the challenges. Currently, the number of SPS officers enrolled (and being paid to do virtually nothing) is far below forecast numbers needed.

In fact, in order to create his “local” force that will be able to react to “local” issues, we understand he and/or members of his team have been attending job fairs in Ontario.

With hiring being the most difficult in many years, across all sectors of the economy, there appears to be little chance that the SPS can get close to the number of officers required to safely monitor the streets and businesses of Surrey. That is in spite of offering attractive, high salaries to prospective officers.

SEE ALSO: Surrey Police Service signs first contract with union

Training potential officers is also a bit of a conundrum, as the Justice Institute of B.C. simply does not have the capacity to meet the demand. Note that RCMP training facilities in Regina and other locations are, unquestionably, the best in the world.

If, at some point in the future, the SPS did reach a point where it would have a sufficient number of trained personnel, the salary costs, the huge cost of replacing equipment already in use by our RCMP detachment and the loss of a substantial federal contribution to Surrey to help ameliorate the costs of the detachment would, and will, result in a huge increase in the tax burden for all Surrey taxpayers.

This would be a long-term and totally unnecessary cost.

Lipinski has suggested that a “local” police force would more adequately meet the needs of the populace. However, it becomes increasingly obvious that crime is becoming ever-more global and ever-more cyber. This does, and will continue, to need complex monitoring – such as the RCMP does, and can, provide.

In conclusion, replacing the well-established, highly trained, detachment of a world-renowned police force with a “local” force to satisfy the whims of a self-centred and self-absorbed mayor makes absolutely no sense, by any stretch of the imagination.

Let’s “Keep The RCMP In Surrey.”

Peter Short, Surrey

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