LETTERS: RCMP well trained for city policing duties

Editor:

Re: RCMP a poor fit for Surrey, Jan. 4, 2019

I read with great interest the letter from Ron Eves and his evaluation of the RCMP compared to other police agencies. I respect his outdated opinion which appears to be based on his experience as a police constable in his younger years. He states that the RCMP mandate is geared for enforcement of federal statutes, crime labs and special details, and are not geared to be general-duty members as street cops in densely populated communities. This is speculation based on opinion and not supported by facts.

The facts start with six months of training, which covers federal statutes, including drug enforcement as well as crime labs, which are essential knowledge to general duty members.

Training also involves provincial statues and bylaws and a host of other subjects and exams. At the end of training, only those selected will receive a posting.

After posting, the training then continues. Courses applicable to the particular job description are provided on a regular basis. With respect to duties as street cops, as mentioned by Eves, RCMP members in some large detachments perform the same duties as city police, including foot patrols and property checks at night.

Eves also states that the RCMP are not fine-tuned for community policing. Apparently, he is not aware that the RCMP replaced the provincial police in B.C. and Newfoundland in 1949. Since that time the RCMP have assumed police duties in the municipalities of Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond and Coquitlam. These municipalities are now cities and have grown immensely in the past 70 years with the RCMP growing and adapting with them, and obtaining 70 years of fine tuning.

Fine tuning is also enhanced by RCMP policy to have members obtain experience in different duties and investigations. As well, I have found that being transferred to different detachments provides a broader outlook and helps with development of individuals. I feel qualified to comment on these matters based on 35 years experience with various postings in the Vancouver area, including Burnaby and Surrey detachments, as well as eight years in Ottawa.

My true feeling is that I am not greatly concerned with Surrey RCMP converting to a city police force. But first, I think we should have some input from the citizens of Surrey.

Secondly, some of the obstacles to a change should be considered. Namely the continuity of ongoing investigations to many very serious crimes and the loss of criminal intelligence involving these files is a serious concern. Also the influx of new personnel to accommodate an 800-member police force will take considerable time to be implemented.

William Parrott, Surrey

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