NEWS

Surrey community safety patrols should be scrapped, says RCMP

02/19/2015 09:17 EST | Updated 04/21/2015 05:59 EDT
A community safety patrol program set up in the aftermath of the slaying of Surrey hockey mom Julie Paskall last year has proven to be expensive and ineffective, according to the RCMP.

In a report to the mayor and council, chief of Surrey RCMP Bill Fordy said that though the patrols — known as Commissionaires — were received positively by the community, there was no evidence that they had actually deterred crime.

"Despite the increased presence, there was no noticeable reduction in crime in the areas patrolled by the Commissionaires," the report states.

"Further there was little in the way of incident reports generated or intelligence gathered during the pilot period."

Fordy is recommending that the pilot project — at an annual cost of $500,000 — should not be renewed when the contract ends at the end of the month.

Surrey mayor Linda Hepner, who ran on a platform that was tough on crime, said that the program was never meant to be permanent. It was about to be made obsolete when 20 new police officers are added to the city in the next six weeks, she said.

"As we transition to what I wanted to establish, which is a neighbourhood policing model so that there's more power and authority to those officers on the ground, then we'll transition out of the existing program," Hepner told CBC News.

Nevertheless, many in the community value the patrols and will be unhappy to see them go if the program is terminated.

"Statistically they're going to say they haven't been effective," said Doug Elford of the Newton Community Association. "Crime stats are up ... we've seen some of that. However, in the community, there is a sense of an elevated level of safety when they see them around."

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