LETTERS: Lack of funding major impediment to RCMP

Editor:

Re: Surrey force is long overdue, Dec. 27, letters

I read Roderick Louis’ letter with interest. It’s interesting that he is from White Rock, which has RCMP, and feels so passionate about replacing the RCMP in Surrey.

He expresses that the RCMP model for Surrey has failed. How so?

The statistics don’t necessarily support such a view. Until the last quarter there was a continued reduction in most areas of criminal activity. It should be noted that the current council has refused to provide additional resources to the Surrey RCMP for two years running. This surely has an impact on the ability of the RCMP to maintain their crime reduction pattern.

There is no concrete evidence to support the replacement of the RCMP with a municipal force.

Drugs and illegal guns are an issue for all major cities in Canada. The worst areas are Toronto and Winnipeg, both of which have municipal police agencies. This is a considerable issue for all policing agencies in the Lower Mainland, not just Surrey.

The gangs that are so prevalent are a significant issue across Canada. They are the purveyors of illegal drugs and weapons due to the profits associated with these items. The majority of illegal weapons come from the U.S. Some are resold to other gang members and some are used against rival gangs.

Police agencies, including the RCMP, are working with community partners to reduce the influence of gangs on the young people of this country. However, it takes more than the police to resolve this issue. Young people are attracted to the gang lifestyle as a result of becoming disenchanted with their home life and the immediate community they live in. The gang offers them a sense of belonging and a flashy lifestyle with all the trappings that illegal money provides. To combat this the families, community leaders, community partners and the police need to have more funding to provide an alternative to the gangs.

The RCMP in Surrey has endeavoured to follow this path. The major impediment they face is lack of funding and resources. It appears that the current city council is trying to make it almost impossible for the RCMP to be successful by refusing to provide more resources for two years running. Unlike the City of Vancouver who negotiated with both police and fire to increase their respective resource levels.

If the City of Surrey had provided the resources the RCMP required to meet the same police to population ratio of the City of Vancouver there would be several hundred additional police officers on the street combating crime. The results would be incredible.

As for additional funding from other levels of government, it won’t happen as it isn’t within their jurisdiction. If they agreed to additional funds for the South Fraser, they would need to provide the same to all municipalities in the province. With the RCMP at least there is a 10 per cent cost-sharing with Surrey, which amounts to millions of dollars that doesn’t come out of the City of Surrey budget.

Ken Gates, Surrey

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