Is this “overwhelming citizen support” for a new Surrey police department, or is our mayor an inveterate optimist?
You be the judge.
At the very least, we think something has been lost in translation.
A City of Surrey press release has Doug McCallum stating that after five weeks’ worth of 23 “public engagement” events in the city’s six town centres, and the receipt of 11,103 survey responses, the results of the Citizen Consultation Survey “speak volumes about the overwhelming support the citizens of Surrey have for the creation of a Surrey Police Department.”
But do they?
This bold assertion is based on the answers to agree-or-disagree statements such as the following:
* It’s time that Surrey had a police department that is locally led – 93 per cent strongly agree/agree;
* I want police officers to build their career in Surrey so they know the community well – 98 per cent strongly agree/agree;
* I believe our police department should prioritize its efforts based on what is important to Surrey citizens – 98 per cent strongly agree/agree.
Well, of course they do.
The mayor’s conclusion in response to these results indicates more-so a leap of faith than it does an adherence to deductive logic. Do these results necessarily translate to support for a city-made police force?
No, they do not.
Here are a few more examples:
* I want a police department that works proactively to solve crimes – 99 per cent strongly agree/agree;
* Being able to respond quickly to emerging issues (e.g., opioid crisis, crime trends) is important for our police service – 100 per cent strongly agree/agree;
* Our police department should focus more on violent crime than on property crime – 95 per cent strongly agree/agree.
The question that should have been asked on this survey is this:
Should the City create its own police department or continue with the RCMP? (Strongly agree/agree/strongly disagree/disagree).
The response to that question would be bankable. The response to these questions is not.