If there is anything that bothers me immensely, it is any kind of political interference or influence in any form of policing.
A wise man once told me : ” Tell the truth, tell it all, and tell it quick.”
I’d like to think that applies to politicians and policing as well, sensitive investigations and strategic information aside.
I noticed earlier today on twitter that mayoral candidate Doug McCallum was trying to make political hay out of others tweets and comments on transparency at city hall with regard to policing and police committee minutes.
And so it’s only correct to ensure a balance of information is available to let readers and Surrey residents know a bit of history on how politics and policing has meshed in the city, this time under the former mayor, whose actions while mayor of Surrey lead to the story below, from 2002.
While there are very few online links available to explore this subject other than one story I have already mentioned in a prior blog post, there is quite a bit of material archived in libraries and search databases easily accessibly to anyone with a membership.
So, for the record: DougMcCallumRCMP in PDF format
Surrey Mounties vow they won’t be gagged by mayor
Author: Spencer, Kent
Abstract (Abstract): Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has pressured police into withholding bad news about crime in the city, says a senior RCMP source.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has pressured police into withholding bad news about crime in the city,says a senior RCMP source.
“McCallum doesn’t like any kind of negative story about crime, period,” the senior Surrey RCMP officer said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“But if the public needs to know about something, we’re putting it out.”Yesterday, McCallum flatly denied trying to censor the RCMP about releasing crime information about his community.
“It’s up to their discretion when they want to send their press releases,” said McCallum. He also denied that an e-mail his assistant sent to RCMP last year was an attempt to control the flow of negative information.
In an earlier radio interview yesterday, McCallum said he could not even recall sending the e-mail.But later he told The Province: “It’s just a question I was asking. Mayors have the right to ask questions about the RCMP.”
The March 2001 e-mail from McCallum’s assistant, Donna Jones, to RCMP Supt. Al MacIntyre said “Doug is wondering” why the RCMP had issued a news release on a “shots fired” incident, since the release itself said police were “not asking for the public’s assistance.”
MacIntyre replied to Jones: “When this call came . . . the media heard about it on their scanners . . . . Given the interest by the media in the incident and to avoid repeatedly giving reports to media outlets . . . a press release was properly made public.”
The RCMP’s own figures show that Surrey is the auto-theft capital of North America on a per-capita basis. But McCallum told council recently it was important to be “careful how you interpret the stats.”
RCMP sources also say McCallum was not pleased that they used the term “House of Horrors” to describe a notorious crack-shack in Whalley.
Police allege the house on 108th Avenue, which has since been demolished, was the scene of drug-taking,extortion, torture and at least two murders.
Surrey North MP Chuck Cadman said the public has a right to know when shots are fired.
“People have to be aware of what’s going on around them so they can address it,” said Cadman, whose his 16-year-old son Jesse was murdered in 1992 in Surrey.Cadman, who is on the RCMP’s list to receive press releases, noted that fewer notices have been sent out since last March.
“It came to my attention when a woman whose son had been stabbed asked me for help,” he said. “I was really surprised, because I had heard nothing about it from the police.”
When asked whether the mayor has tried to suppress information, Surrey RCMP spokesman Const. Tim Shields said: “I have a duty to be honest with the public, therefore, it’s my best response to say nothing.”
Shields added: “The RCMP has a duty to inform the public of dangerous crime trends.”Surrey Coun. Bob Bose said the city has a “serious problem” if press releases have to be cleared by the mayor.
“It would be inappropriate interference in the day-to-day operations of the detachment — an extraordinary thing,” he said.
People: McCallum, Doug, Cadman, Chuck
Publication title: The Province
Number of pages: 0
Publication year: 2002
Publication date: Sep 27, 2002
Publisher: Infomart, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
Place of publication: Vancouver, B.C.
Country of publication: Canada
Publication subject: General Interest Periodicals–Canada
Source type: Newspapers
Language of publication: English
Document type: News