LETTERS: Municipal police like fox guarding hen house

Editor:

The RCMP has more oversight than perhaps any other police force in the world. Yes, mistakes happen and policing problems need to be ironed out, but having a local police force in a community heavily dominated by one homogeneous ethnic group is a grave mistake any way you look at it.

I worry about marginalized women’s voices being silenced in domestic violence situations.

How comfortable would they feel, when the officer attending the scene is a neighbour or family friend, especially given the women’s roles in these communities?

I speak as a female of South Asian background.

I personally would feel far more comfortable approaching an RCMP officer who falls under federal oversight, rather than someone potentially influenced by the whims of patriarchal religious or cultural leaders.

It’s telling that religious leaders from the South Asian community are vociferously clamoring for a local force.

These leaders yield great influence within our societies and would like nothing more than an expanded power base for their own.

Religious groups forcing their hand on public policy is wrong. It’s undemocratic and not what you’d expect in a First World nation such as Canada.

Moreover, having managed large-scale national programs, I have seen, time and again, how devolving accountability to smaller communities with no overarching governance inevitably leads to breakdown of good policy. It increases the risk of corruption and entrenchment of abuse of existing power structures within such cultural milieus.

Having your own people police your own community is akin to the proverbial fox guarding the hen house.

Replacing the RCMP with a local police force in Surrey will be a disastrous mistake and is a knee-jerk reaction, detrimental to the city financially and societally.

This is a great disservice to the public at large and could put in harm’s way the very people who will need the police on their side the most.

I implore the city and my neighbours to rethink this issue.

A. Herath, White Rock

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