Surrey will expand its RCMP detachment with the addition of 95 police officers over the next five years.
The move comes at a time when civic officials have faced significant public pressure to combat the recent crime wave in Surrey.
Concerns reached a breaking point last year when hockey mom Julie Paskall was murdered at Newton Arena while picking up her son from officiating a hockey tournament. Paskall’s death marked Surrey’s 25th homicide in 2013.
In addition to the increase in RCMP officers, Surrey will introduce 20 community safety patrol officers, of which 10 will start work immediately within the troubled Newton neighbourhood. The community safety officers will be given additional powers to arrest and carry a firearm.
“This pledge to increase the number of RCMP officers in Surrey is a continuation of the work we started in October of 2013 to disrupt criminal activity in our city. The additional officers have been realized through efficiencies within the RCMP as a result of the review process,” says Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. “Public safety remains my top priority and the actions we have taken today show that council and I will continue our policy to confront and disrupt criminal activity in Surrey.”
These changes are part of the Mayor’s Task Force to tackle rampant crime in neighbourhoods. During its first 90 days, the Task Force has made 250 arrests, recommended 85 charges, and seized weapons, drugs and cash amounting to more than $100,000.
Surrey will also be reporting its crime statistics on a monthly basis instead of quarterly.
Featured Image: Crime tape via Shutterstock