Surrey: The Surrey RCMP continues its work to address crime and the illegal drug trade in the City of Surrey through a multi-pronged approach that includes enforcement, intervention, and prevention. For the latter two, the detachment is taking advantage of the summer season when many families are outdoors in the community to expand its outreach in local communities.
In June, the Surrey RCMP launched Community Engagement Teams which have been attending weekend community events across the city including field hockey tournaments, farmers markets and cultural celebrations. Team members are there to talk to parents and community members about issues, connect with children and youth, and offer assistance and resources to parents who may be concerned about their children becoming involved in illegal activities.
The Community Engagement Teams are made up of police officers, volunteers, and employees from our Crime Prevention, Diversity, Victim Services and Youth Intervention programs. The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) is also attending a number of these events in support of this initiative. To date, the teams have gone to 25 events and engaged with over 4,000 people.
“The Community Engagement Teams are part of our long-term strategy of promoting positive choices for young people and offering support and guidance to parents and caregivers in the community,” says Superintendent Shawn Gill, Community Services Officer. “The teams play an integral role in prevention and intervention by proactively reaching out to youth and their families and establishing contact with them at an early age.”
“I was extremely impressed with the members of your Community Engagement Team who attended an annual soccer tournament held recently at Newton Athletic Park,” says Ron Brar, Director of BC Soccer. “I was very impressed with the professionalism of your team, the interaction with the public, and how you and your staff conducted themselves. Myself and others were also impressed with the interactions with children including presenting trophies to participants, serving food, and adding overall humour to the event. Thank you for your hard work!”
The addition of the Community Engagement Teams is the latest in a series of initiatives the Surrey RCMP has implemented to reach out to families before children might begin to go down the wrong path. In May, the Surrey RCMP Parent Helpline (604-599-7800) was launched in May and, to-date 32 calls have been received from parents needing support in a variety of circumstances. In June, the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team (SGET) teamed up with CFSEU-BC to deliver End Gang Life presentations to 1,600 Surrey students. In March, SGET spent spring break with a group of 35 potentially at-risk youth (see previous news release).
This summer, the Surrey RCMP’s Youth Unit is involved in a number of day camps for underprivileged elementary school kids and assisting in physical education programs put on by Surrey Schools and their partners. Youth officers with the Surrey WRAP Program are also fully engaged with at-risk youth and participating in day trips and other recreational outings this summer.
“The whole idea is to have a visible presence and give kids an opportunity to talk to police officers in a safe, comfortable environment,” says Supt. Gill. “Engagement is key in preventing young people from being lured into the criminal lifestyle with negative – and potentially fatal – consequences.”