An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)

LETTER: Surrey’s new police service compounding stress on cops

Reader says SPS new deputy chief will have a lot of workplace stress to deal with

The Editor,

Re: “Surrey Police Service officers’ mental health a top priority for Jennifer Hyland,” the Now-Leader online.

The mental health of the police will be a top priority, says a newly hired deputy chief constable for a new police service in Surrey, Jennifer Hyland.

Stress and harrowing situations are an every day occurrence for the police. They are first responders at accidents, murders, overdoses, suicides and victims of abuse. They never know when they will be confronted by a crazed and armed assailant intent on killing them.

Now imagine this situation. As well as their job, they have to deal with work-place abuse and denigration. The coalition party of Surrey’s mayor retweeted a post that called the RCMP ‘poorly trained murderers.’ The RCMP have been told that they are going to be out of a job at an unspecified date in the near future. They will be uprooted from the city where many they built their careers, have served loyally and have lowered crime rates. Their families are growing up here.

The axe over their head could drop at any time – possibly very soon, as the RCMP detachment has been defunded by 25 per cent in 2021. This stress is on top of what they were trained to cope with in the course of their duties.

Now imagine that the unthinkable happens. The RCMP leaves town. Surrey has a new police service and a new deputy chief constable is responsible for their mental health and well being. Her work will be cut out as this force has no experience in Surrey. Fresh from police academy, they have no mentors. Everyone is new to the job. They do not know their way around Surrey. They do not know the gangs and criminal elements. They have brand new and unproven communications and information technology so glitches and failures can be expected at any time. Gangs and seasoned criminal elements will take advantage of the new cops in town. Citizens will demand the response and protection to which they are accustomed.

Surrey’s new deputy chief will have a lot of workplace stress to deal with.

None of this needs to happen. The change of police from the RCMP is unwanted, unneeded and is proving to be ruinously expensive. The only purpose it serves is to stoke the ego of one person.

Hyland is talking of mental health issues. They were started right here. This ill-conceived plan can be stopped right now.

Colin Pronger, Surrey

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