Is news being deliberately suppressed to give Surrey a good image?
(Photo: Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy Photo by Chandra Bodalia)
DELTA Police sends an email to all news organizations every day about crime incidents, minor or major, that occur in their jurisdiction.
Now that is what you call transparency and Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford deserves fulsome praise for his honesty and openness.
However, just the opposite appears to be the case with Surrey RCMP and it is high time the RCMP learned some lessons of accountability to the residents from the neighbouring municipal police force.
God alone knows how many drive-by shootings and other “shots fired” events take place every day in B.C.’s second largest city.
But do not expect the Surrey RCMP to tell you about them!
This week it became clearer why the City of Surrey and its police want to suppress crime news when a Vancouver Police Department report cited Crime Severity Index (CSI) statistics that showed Surrey was the SECOND WORST jurisdiction in Metro Vancouver in overall, violent and non-violent categories! The CSI measures the volume and seriousness of the crime and is different from the crime rate.
PEOPLE were shocked to learn from CTV on Monday night (December 11) that a 43-year-old homeless woman was found savagely beaten in a vacant lot on 135A Street and 106 Avenue on December 2.
As CTV reported, questions are being raised about why the public wasn’t immediately warned. Jonquil Hallgate, Surrey Urban Mission, told CTV: “What we were told was that she was chained to a tree and she was brutally attacked and some damage was done to her eyes. It was so savage. And so much damage was done… she is a very tiny woman.”
The rest of the media have been reporting on that incident since Tuesday, questioning the RCMP’s handling of it.
Why didn’t the Surrey RCMP immediately alert the public and the media?
How many other such cases have gone unreported?
If the RCMP doesn’t report such cases how can expect WITNESSES to come forward?
How STUPID is that?
Hopefully, the new Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent, Bill Fordy, will be as transparent as his Delta Police counterpart?
WELL-KNOWN lawyer and former MLA Tony Bhullar told Asian Journal that it would be prudent to report all crime news to the public in light of the damages that the Toronto Police force paid out in the famous Jane Doe case in the late 80’s.
Bhullar said, “Due to the failure of the police to alert the public that a serial rapist was on the loose, the public was unaware to take extra precautions, and when the serial rapist struck and assaulted a woman in a lower apartment and she learned that the police knew but failed to notify the public, she sued and was awarded damages.”
Bhullar pointed out that the money awarded didn’t come out of the police’s pocket but that of the taxpayer.
The Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP website notes: “Jane Doe was awarded $220,000 in damages, which, 12 years after the legal battle began, amounted with interest to almost $500,000.”
BACK in 2002, the Surrey RCMP were reportedly pressured to stop reporting every shooting incident as it was giving the city and then-mayor Doug McCallum a bad name.
BCTV reported in September 2002 that it “asked RCMP media relations spokesperson Constable Tim Shields why at least three serious crime incidents in recent weeks did not get reported to the media in the form of a news release as is usually the case.
“On three separate occasions, guns were discharged and the public wasn’t told about it. Two incidents involved gunfights and another incident involved a drive-by shooting.”
Shields told BCTV that it was “impossible to report all the criminal events that take place in their jurisdiction given their limited resources.”
Of course, that was baloney.
The Surrey RCMP did not have enough resources to report serious shots fired incidents?
Were there SO MANY shootings taking place every day?
But some of us in the media were told something else by RCMP sources at the time.
As BCTV reported: “Several high level sources told BCTV Newshour that Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum frequently steps in to stage-manage RCMP news releases.”
McCallum denied that.
SO will Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts do the right thing and let Surrey residents know what REALLY is going on in the city every day?
And please let us NOT hear the excuse of lack of funds!