Mike Farnworth, pre-pandemic. (File photo)

Mike Farnworth, pre-pandemic. (File photo)

Surrey Police recruitment not distracting cops from shootings, Farnworth says

‘That’s simply not the case,’ Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told the Now-Leader on Friday

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says the Surrey Police Service’s recruitment efforts are not hampering investigations into this current spate of shootings by distracting officers, as was suggested by the National Police Federation which represents Mounties across Canada.

“That’s simply not the case,” Farnworth told the Now-Leader on Friday. “There’s no distraction from the work of IHIT or the Coordinated Special Enforcement Unit.”

On May 10 the NPF issued a press release calling on the provincial government to “Direct the Surrey Police Service to halt recruitment of active police officers in the Lower Mainland, including those from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, to an inactive potential future police service. Now is not the time to be removing scarce resources from active service in the Lower Mainland.”

On March 11, Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, commanding officer of the BC RCMP, wrote a letter to Surrey Police Service Chief Constable Norm Lipinski saying she received “numerous” complaints that serving RCMP are “receiving calls, at work, from Surrey Policing executives seeking their interest in retiring from the RCMP and joining the new Surrey Police Service.

“I want to share my concerns that these calls are coming in to colleagues via their RCMP phone numbers and during work hours,” she wrote. “A number have expressed their discomfort.

“I fully support you and your team in accomplishing the enormous task of recruiting new employees, but would respectfully request that your human resources team adjust their approach to avoid further complaints” Strachan wrote.

To this, Lipinski replied that the SPS was “not aware of anyone at the Surrey Police Service making the phone calls in such a manner as you indicated” and added “it would be helpful if you could provide specific details.”

Meantime, during a press conference call with reporters on Friday Farnworth said residents can expect to see more police on the road in the wake of recent shootings, which currently stand at 11.

“You will see an increased police presence in many areas,” Farnworth said.

He said the shootings and related homicide investigations are “very complex” and a big challenge the police are facing “ is not a resource issue.”

“They have the resources,” he insisted. “In many of these crimes, police have found out, a deceased victim for example is the main suspect in other murders and so that is a challenge, because the person who committed the crime has also become another statistic.”

SEE ALSO PHOTOS: Police investigating South Surrey vehicle fire

READ ALSO: IHIT looking for dash-can footage of burned Surrey Car believed related to YVR shooting

Police departments are not working in silos, Farnworth said, but rather in a coordinated, collaborative effort to solve these crimes.

“The police and the province and the feds are all working together,” he said, bringing all tools available to deal with “this scourge.”

“Police are not going to let up. Police are going to be on this, and on this, and on this through every possible means. And the gangsters, as I said, there’s only two ways this is going to end. Either jail, or they’re going to be dead.”

Another challenge, he said, is getting information from people who need to report what they know to police. “They cannot continue to turn a blind eye.”

Farnworth met with police chiefs on Thursday to discuss drugs turf wars and retaliation shootings.

“They are absolutely, completely committed to suppressing this cycle of violence and bringing to justice those who are responsible. This is job number one, like, this is their top priority,” Farnworth said.

Also on Friday police chiefs and commanders released a joint statement on recent gang-related violence in the Lower Mainland, saying the level of their partnership in the region is “unprecedented.”

“The disregard for the safety of the public and the police that gang members continually show, highlighted by recent events, is unacceptable and we are doing everything we can to hold those responsible accountable” reads the statement, on behalf of 12 senior police officers. “Your safety is our number one priority and we will not waver in our relentless pursuit to prevent, disrupt, suppress, and investigate those who choose to involve themselves in gang and organized crime activities.”

The public’s role, they said, cannot be understated. “Your willingness to call police when you see something suspicious, or have information, could be critical in helping prevent someone from getting hurt or assist us in collecting crucial pieces of evidence. We want your help.

“Lastly, to the gang members, we know many of you are afraid, unsure who to trust, and fearful that you might be targeted next. You have an opportunity to get out. Contact police before it is too late for you and those who love you.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

PoliceShootingSurrey

Just Posted

Rohan arul-Pragasam, Chilliwack School District’s interim superintendent, has been appointed superintendent of schools effective June 15, 2021. (Chilliwack School District)
Interim position becomes permanent for Rohan Arul-pragasam at Chilliwack School District

Arul-pragasam said he was ‘humbled to continue as a steward’ in new role as superintendent of schools

PlanCultus was adopted in 2017 as a guiding document for Cultus Lake Park. (Cultus Lake Park Board)
More affordable housing options could be coming to Cultus Lake Park

Online survey opened on June 14 to gauge opinion on plaza redevelopment eyed for Village Centre

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read