Surrey removes unarmed police for ‘independent body’ of officers
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Bill Fordy. (JASON LANG/24 HOURS)
Surrey RCMP is removing its unarmed community safety officer program. Going forward, the city plans to implement an “independent body” of 20 non-police members to replace their roles.
Chief Supt. Bill Fordy made the announcement earlier this month and more details are expected on Monday when an update would be delivered to city hall.
According to the Mounties’ report, the program was originally intended to “contribute to safer homes and communities through visible, accessible, policing and crime prevention services.”
The report said the existing safety officers would be transitioned to new titles, with a choice of joining the regular force, becoming a “community program officer” — non-uniform and unarmed officers used only in New Brunswick — or becoming a “community constable” to focus on culturally based policing.
“The CSOs provided a great service to this community and with the pilot now concluding, we’re working with the city to determine which of the alternatives will best serve the residents of Surrey going forward,” Fordy said in a statement last week.
The Surrey project began in February 2008 and was initially intended as an 18-month pilot program. According to the RCMP, the total cost was about $2.2 million.
Vancouver is currently in the midst of its own $6.5 million community safety officer pilot project planned for four years with 40 personnel.