It’s been said that Surrey politics is the one to watch this year and certainly it never fails to provide fodder for ample discussion.
Mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode released her crime plan yesterday,one crafted in part in consultation with soon to be retired Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford. Cessford is highly respected by many not only in Delta, but in law enforcement in general for his commitment to the ‘no call too small’ philosophy.
Within a short time of Rasode’s release, Hepner issued a press release not only calling Rasode’s crime plan a complete knock-off of the current Surrey Crime Prevention Strategy that’s been in place since 2007, she then went onto say how terrible some parts of Rasode’s plan was. ( Think about that for a moment. She even says she had to look at Rasode’s plan twice to see what, if anything, was different)
Here is Hepner’s release in full, followed by a small excerpt, so there can be no errors of interpretation on my part: http://www.surreyfirst.ca/2014/10/rasodes-public-safety-plan-a-copy-of-surrey-firsts-crime-2007-reduction-strategy/
This raised more than a few eyebrows between Newton residents who just earlier this year, were introduced to the new Community Safety Patrol pilot project staffed by the Commissionaires earlier this year.
In this report to the police committee, dated April 23rd, 2014 it’s clear tiered policing is being implemented and the OIC Bill Fordy recommended in part, the following:
3· Direct City staff to enter into a contract with the BC Commissionaires to conduct a 36
week Community Safety Patrol pilot project, with 10 Community Safety Patrol Personnel
4· Recommend that Council set the expenditure authorization at $554.40o.oo, excluding
5· Further consider increasing the total number of Community Safety Patrol Personnel to 20 in 2015.
However, decisions must have been made prior to this report to the police committtee, because a full week earlier,a craigslist posting for the job with a start date of April 22nd even caught the city manager off guard .
Commissionaires after all, are security guards, and in Linda Hepner’s press release, she says using community safety patrols/security guards is dangerous, because they are not trained police officers. I actually happen to agree, and voiced my concerns along with many residents at the time – if you are going to have boots on the ground, let them be well trained to deal with the situations they may encounter.
To say Newton residents were surprised to read Linda’s press release about how dangerous security guards would be, and how it would take resources away from policing ( $554,400.00 in this case alone) after being sold by the city on the effectiveness of the Commissionaires, is an understatement.
Emails and phone calls started flying around, in particular since a local activist David Dalley, had recently began asking Newton residents for solutions to the men hanging around The Grove who had begun harassing women going through – an ongoing issue for months. And one the commissionaires were not able to prevent.
Where are the commissionaires anyways?
Not aware that a Newton resident had already asked this very same question to no response earlier in the evening, I put forth the question again – and the response stunned Newton residents completely:
It didn’t matter that I voiced this same concern she has in her press release earlier this year, it mattered that the question Newton residents are now wondering about, was not something she was prepared to answer.
She has now called into question the entire pilot project, through her own words.
Where does that leave residents who have been questioning and concerned why these security guards are doing community safety patrols around the city?
After all, “They have no more authority to do anything than you or me, and with just a few weeks of very basic training, Policing is serious business and it needs to be handled by professionals.”
Which is exactly what Newton residents said this spring when the city hired them.
I welcome an explanation- as do the residents and businesses of Newton – on all of this, but I’m not hanging around here waiting for it.
There’s plenty of sunshine to be had outside.