Surrey mayoral candidate calls for resignation of RCMP superintendent after record year for murders

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      Crime dominated a Surrey mayoral debate last night on Shaw TV, with one candidate calling for the ouster of the RCMP chief superintendent and another claiming that the city knew of problems outside Newton Arena before last year's murder of hockey mom Julie Paskall.

      Vikram Bajwa, an independent who supports the creation of a city police force, claimed that voters have lost faith in the RCMP.

      "That's why the crime graph is going nuts," Bajwa said. "And the simple solution is Mr. Bill Fordy should take responsibility. He should resign."

      Fordy has been chief superintendent of the Surrey RCMP since June 2012.

      Last year, Surrey experienced a record 25 murders, including the killing of Paskall on December 29 when she was picking up her teenage son. A 27-year-old man from Ontario, Yosel Jomo Gopaul, has been charged with second-degree murder in Paskall's death.

      One Surrey mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode said during the debate that city officials knew about unsafe conditions outside the recreation centre where the killing occurred.

      "Two weeks before Julie Paskall was murdered, we cancelled—the city cancelled—a teen skate program because we knew there were safety issues," Rasode said. "At the time, instead of stepping up sand say 'we need to do things different', what everyone wanted to do was be quiet. I'm not prepared to be quiet when we know we have tragic deaths like Julie Paskall's or Mr. [Gurchuran Singh] Gill's beating in the park."

      Rasode, a two-term councillor who split from Surrey First earlier this year, went on to say that she had called for more officers at closed meetings. This was challenged by one of her rivals, Surrey First's Linda Hepner, who's been on council since 2005.

      "You know that it's simply not a true statement," Hepner charged. "You are misleading the public."

      Hepner also demanded that Rasode reveal when she called for more police officers during her three-and-a-half-year stint as chair of the public safety committee.

      "One tough mother would not have been muzzled if you're suggesting this is what happened," Hepner added, referring to Rasode's campaign slogan.

      Rasode insisted what she said was true. She also noted that she chose not to be muzzled, which is why she left Hepner's caucus earlier this year to sit as an independent.

      Meanwhile, Safe Surrey Coalition mayoral candidate Doug McCallum accused both of his major opponents, Hepner and Rasode, of only bringing forward crime-fighting suggestions at election time but not doing nearly enough during their last two terms on council.

      That brought forth Hepner's retort that McCallum "had the worst record in the entire country of Canada" in spending on police, noting that the detachment went through four commanding officers during his three terms as mayor from 1996 to 2005.

      At another point in the debate, Hepner said that there were only 496 officers in Surrey when Surrey First took power in 2005. 

      "I believe your record around creating a safe Surrey has been dismal and proven to be a failure," Hepner declared.

      McCallum replied that for two years, Surrey couldn't get more officers because the RCMP training depot was shut down. 

      "It took another two years to get any RCMP officers," McCallum added.

      Hepner said that her party will add 147 officers over two years, bringing the number of Mounties to 820. She also promised to lobby the province to create a specialized court for either bylaw offences or youth crime, and to build a "secure mental-health facility" in the city. 

      "We're prepared to come to the table with the province to make that happen, whether that's land dedication, whether that's forgiveness of development cost charges," the Surrey First candidate said.

      McCallum pledged $5 million for "social development" to address addiction issues, as well as the addition of 142 police officers.

      Rasode has promised 200 community-safety officers on the ground by 2015 "or council will take a 10 percent pay cut".

      "We have created the only comprehensive plan in this election," Rasode added. "We'll get more boots on the street, tackle the root causes of crime, and help those with mental illness and addiction. The One Surrey crime plan will make Surrey the safest city in Canada."

      Overall violent criminal offences were at their lowest level in Surrey in a decade last, year, according to a recent Surrey RCMP report. The number of overall offences in the city was at the lowest level since 2010.

      However in the first three quarters of this year, there has been a 21 percent rise in Criminal Code offences over the same period last year.

      These most recent statistics indicate that the murder rate is down 33 percent but there were 11 attempted murders, up from four over the first nine months of 2012.

      There were also 24 abductions in the first three quarters, up from 18 over the same period of 2013. And property crimes are up 27 percent this year over the first nine months of last year.



      Dysfunctional Social Paradigms

      Nov 1, 2014 at 9:10am

      The RCMP Superintendent is not in control of the murders- the criminals are.

      Non-productive values combined with glamourizing of Gangster Lifestyles draw many in- the seeds of the problem are there. Criminal and Gangster values are remarkably similar to third world tribal loyalties or slum culture values.

      I suggest taking a look at your paradigms of understanding before making knee-jerk statements like blaming the RCMP Superintendent for the actions of an explosion of third world values and those who perpetuate them.


      Nov 1, 2014 at 9:53am

      Gee I wish I was running for Surrey Mayor, its like the Price is Right, who'll give the right number of new officers..."Drew, I'll say 1,000, yes Drew, 1,000 more officers, no Drew, I haven't a clue if the RCMP can meet this request and no Drew none of the others giving a number can either, but we want the electorate to believe having more officers will prevent violent crime in our city."

      Are voters that stupid? If you don't deal with the underlying causes no matter how many officers, cameras (which Surrey has plenty), or chest beating by Surrey politicians will prevent the next murder in Surrey, Vancouver, or any other community in BC.


      Nov 1, 2014 at 7:50pm

      Did any mayoral candidate sit with the appropriate level top cop after each murder and fight with tenacity to learn how the murder number could've stopped at one? two? 24? They are politicizing RCMP staffing levels and murders to get Surrey's top office job.

      RCMP incompetence and trust is an issue in itself, especially in BC where we seem to serve as collection depot of unwanted rejects from elsewhere Canada.


      Nov 2, 2014 at 12:31am

      It has to be downright embarrassing; even the barber works for someone. The trouble with Surrey is that the outgoing Mayor has been far too Princessy and not a visible figure in the community. Playing the role of royalty rather than being a person of the people and meeting down to earth people. I am glad Mccallum has had enough of the Tony Blair, GWB, summits. Its nice she will get the credit for all the new development but always talking about Surreys growth as a good thing is a discredit to all the people who have called it home for perhaps longer than she. My opinion is, that as great as a job she has done, the little things fell by the way side in the face of the glaring shiny new things. The road from City Hall to home is paved with gold and manicured lawns while many parts of Surrey could not be bothered with, let alone acknowledged as if to actually exist. Thus, while cosmetically the City may shine like a freshly unearthed diamond now being polished, it still has many rough edges and needs a strong person to now "manage" all the growth and change. Tough decisions but I am sure for whomever is in charge will take Surrey to new places, building on the departing Mayors impressive work. They will definitely need a roll up the sleeves attitude and not be afraid of hard work. Thats my big criticism of the outgoing Mayor: a bit too comfortable in a soft cushioned chair behind a mahogany desk and a bit more down to earth rather than always pie in the sky might actually work to endear people to Surrey rather than always competitively engaging and stumping always trying to out gloss Vancouver.

      Roscoe Rules

      Nov 2, 2014 at 1:35am

      Most likely a nice man, but a terrible police administrator to say the least.

      Mr. Fordy or his office will accept calls from the public expressing concerns, and seems to hide in a bunker under seize at the Surrey RCMP detachment. He is not a people person like his predecessor Superintendent Fraser MacRea.Sure manangement styles are different from one person to another but the City of Surrey is in a terrible state of affairs currently.

      The City of Surrey, the largest of the RCMP detachments has been allowed to sink to an all time low. We the citizen do not have a properly managed police agency, and more police will not be the solution.

      The RCMP always hire from withing the same gene pool,and thus does not advance.One only has to look next door to the City of Delta, and you will find a capable police leader and administrator.

      Yes, Mr. Fordy's head must roll, and for the benefit of the citizens of Surrey sooner rather than later.

      Cyber 6

      Nov 2, 2014 at 11:51am

      Police departments in general are the scapegoats during elections. Let's just say Surrey has Socio-Economic Issue and it has failed in many levels. There are places in Surrey that people would be afraid of walking at night, reminiscence of Jamaica, NY in the 90's. Cops can't keep a tap on every criminal in that city when they're hands and financial resources are tight.

      sunny jim

      Nov 2, 2014 at 9:53pm

      many posting do not live in surrey. the astonishing fact NEVER reported is that a POLICE STATION is across the road from the hockey arena area, less than 500 metres away. The issue is we are up to almost 800 police AND NOT 1 seen on the streets of surrey, not so hard to be walking the streets of newton or whalley...even NYC police were attacked by an axe wielding nut, that means even NYC cops walk a beat....police have more than doubled in a few years and yet a woman is killed across the street from a POLICE STATION, in some places thats called criminal negligence, sort of like the iraqi police and military taking taxpayers money then when hoodlums with guns arrive they scram


      Nov 2, 2014 at 10:44pm

      I'd like to know out of the 25 murders , how many were solved? if none , then the chief should resign. if all , he should get a raise.

      Mr. Skeptical

      Nov 3, 2014 at 7:39am

      What the heck are community safety-officers? It sounds like a position that you can quickly increase when the deadline is nearing.