Surrey Coun. Brenda Locke is expressing shock and disappointment that the new Surrey Police Department would not have the manpower to maintain Sophie’s Place, a service for abused children.
Locke points out that council voted in February to increase the number of officers assigned to Sophie’s Place from seven to 11.
The police transition report calls for only seven.
“I am deeply concerned that this lack of attention and solid commitment puts all of our children at risk,” Locke said in a release Tuesday. “As a result, children who have already been victimized are now going to be re-victimized this time by a system and policing plan that doesn’t supply the police resources to protect them.”
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum fired back with a released statement of his own.
“The information Coun. Locke is providing amounts to fearmongering,” McCallum wrote in a statement, adding that her statement was “unconscionable and irresponsible.”
He said that the staffing decisions will be up to the new police chief.
Coun. Jack Hundial also said he had “serious concerns” with the police transition report, pointing out that it fails Sophie’s Place and several other areas.
He described the language in the report as vague and boilerplate.
“If you say you’re going to have double the officers in the cars, you’re going to have less police visibility on the road,” said Hundial, also a former police officer.”That’s a very simple equation.”
He was also upset with the mayor’s release on Locke.
“I don’t think it serves anyone’s purpose by attacking your councillors,” Hundial said. “It’s gotten to that point I think. The public is asking for information… those people elected us as well, they didn’t elect one individual.”
Hundial said the mayor’s reaction to Locke exposes a lack of knowledge about policing.
“I think he’s speaking from a very uninformed position, when it comes to investigating crimes and crimes against children,” Hundial said. “I’ve got 25 years as a police officer, and I can tell you, what’s written in that report is not best practices for keeping children of Surrey safer.”