Oct 27

Cop Candidates Eye 200 Safety Officers

Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh

Surrey city council hopefuls Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh — part of Barinder Rasode’s One Surrey team — took time to discuss crime in the city:

“ ... By having those 200 officers on the street it goes back to the old saying, ‘perception is reality.’” — Kal Dosanjh

Q -What are the high-risk and high-crime areas of Surrey?
Should policing in these areas be approached differently than other neighbourhoods?

KD: Newton is a high-risk area and there are still some parts of Whalley that are considered high-risk as well. Part of our crime platform is to implement a community safety officer program and by having those 200 officers on the street it goes back to the old saying, ‘perception is reality.’ When these criminals see more boots on the street, that will serve as a deterrent factor and inhibit them in engaging in criminal activity. There needs to be more beat patrol and I think there needs to be more presence in that respect. An officer in a car won’t serve the same functions in that environment that an officer on foot will. When this officer is going door-to-door in that community, people know that they are safe. They know someone is actively monitoring and actively present.

MB: The entire Surrey is a high-crime area — there is not one area that’s less crime-involved than others, albeit as Kal mentioned, Newton and Whalley seem to have more, but the others Guildford, Cloverdale, South Surrey — they too have a lot of crime. One theory is that some of the crime is not being reported and as a result there could be statistics that show crime is actually being reduced when in fact that’s not the case often it’s the fear of crime, and it’s not being reported. Crime is everywhere.

Q Both of your opponents Surrey First and Safe Surrey are asking for a set number of RCMP officers to be added to the streets of Surrey. Do more officers translate to a reduction in crime and better public safety? Does Surrey need more officers?

MB: Certainly Surrey requires more police officers no question about that. However, the method of deployment for the service delivery has to change to make sure we’re getting the best bang for the buck for these additional police officers. It’s not real- istic to increase by 100 police officers over the next few years — I don’t believe the RCMP are capa- ble of fulfilling that mandate on such short notice. So we have to take immediate action now, and the immediate action that we’re going to do is hire these 200 community safety officers to go out and meet the general public, mobilize the community and work toward identifying problem areas and solutions, and we’re prepared to do that right away, as opposed to wait who knows how long for additional resources to come.place where they’re actually sent to Regina. It’s not a quick-fix method and then you have a police officer on the road that’s brand new.

Q-Your opponents have criticized One Surrey’s plan to roll out 200 community safety officers as unprofessional policing, saying it only places “inexperienced citizens on the street, creating a danger to themselves and the community.”Do you think a seven-week training program will appropriately equip and prepare citizens to patrol the streets of Surrey?

KD: I do. And I’ll tell you exactly why — this was effective in New York and we can use that as perfect evidence that this system works, this methodology is based on a community-based policing model and it is tried and tested. If these officers are capable of being properly trained which they will be because we’ll obviously be recruiting the right people to be training these individuals once they’re properly trained and satisfied the criteria that they’re capable of being out on the street, then absolutely (they’re equipped). The other parties can criticize all they want, but at the end of the day there’s significant empirical and hard evidence in place that supports this program — it has worked in Winnipeg, it has worked in New York and it has worked in multiple locations around the world. If this plan can work everywhere else, it sure can work in Surrey as well. Q What is your position on inmate release and how should they be handled/managed in the community?

KD: You can’t necessarily infringe on somebody’s constitutional rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If the criteria is satisfied for this person to be released from jail, as in they served their sentence and as far as the parole board is concerned they have satisfied and met the necessary pre-requisites to be released, then I’m not going to put that into question. However, when these individuals do come out, perhaps increased stipulations can be imposed so that we can monitor them more effectively. MB: There can be tighter provisions placed on (these people), certainly more awareness to the general public that this person does live in the community and also perhaps some type of a bracelet to monitor his activities it may not prevent the crime, but it would certainly advise him that police are monitoring.

The Province, October 27, 2014

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