Surrey has finally released the full data on a public engagement that shows about majority speaking negatively about switching from RCMP in this city.
At least one city councillor calls the new information as proof that the process has been flawed.
Surrey Coun. Brenda Locke is “disappointing” that the city said there was 93 per cent of the public in favour of a switch to a Surrey Police Department (SPD), when the narrative comments show 70 per cent of the public want to keep the Mounties.
In the spring, the city of Surrey held 23 public engagement events regarding a proposed switch from the Surrey RCMP to a municipal police force.
There were more than 11,000 responses, which were summarized, but until Dec. 23, details were kept under wraps.
Locke said it’s highly suspect that the information would be released just before Christmas, when most people are in the thick of the holiday season.
“It is a sham,” Locke told Pulse FM. “The whole process has been a sham from the very beginning.”
She said it brings into question the entire movement to switch police forces.
“I think it makes the whole process moving forward predicated on a lie to the minister,” Locke said.
The city had previously reported that more than 90 per cent of those asked were in favour of dropping the RCMP in favour of the SPD.
However, that question was not directly asked in the city questionnaire.
People were asked if they wanted “a police department that works proactively to solve crimes” (93 per cent in favour) and if they “want increased uniformed police patrols in (their) neighbourhood” (91 per cent in favour) among other questions about better policing.
Some of the almost 1,300 comments noted the absence of the direct question of the RCMP versus a Surrey Police Department.
“All the questions are ridiculous, leading questions that are just as pertinent for keeping the RCMP,” one commenter noted. “You need to keep the RCMP and give them tools, finances and personnel that would allow them to do them to do the job we need. No Surrey force!”
Another person agreed, but with more fury.
“Ask questions in a manner that truly give honest feedback and not lead you to your answer… This is not consultation, but lip service/load of BS. I can’t express fully my anger at this.”
Locke said she is hearing growing anger among Surrey residents who feel their concerns about the process have not been heard.
Locke said she can’t “get by the broccoli” in the grocery store without someone stopping her who wants to talk about it.
“The opposition (to the policing switch) is so aggressive and so huge,” she said.
Locke said the issue will not be going away, and will likely be brought up at the next meeting of council on Jan. 6.
The mayor’s office did not respond to Pulse FM’s request for comment.