Surrey RCMP is conducting an internal review after a scathing email from a supervisor called out members of a specialized unit of neglecting the basics of good policing.
The Surrey RCMP’s South Community Response Unit can no longer operate undercover or drive unmarked police cars. The team’s surveillance privileges have also been suspended.
Global News has obtained screenshots which are circulating among police officers of an email dated March 2 from Surrey RCMP Staff Sgt. Jag Saran, detailing alleged issues with the unit.
“South CRU members have demonstrated their inability to perform the basic foundations of policing 101,” the email states.
Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told Global News Wednesday that an RCMP internal review was underway.
“It’s very concerning,” he said. “It’s very disturbing and it undermines public confidence in policing.”
Over the past two years there have been several incidents where surveillance tactics were not applied properly, Saran said in the email, adding that last month two police cruisers were damaged and several officers suffered minor injuries.
The incident in question was a traffic stop of an erratic driver near 152 Street and 24 Avenue, where the suspect allegedly rammed a police car into a pole.
The suspect is now facing charges, while the South CRU has been sidelined from certain duties.
Saran’s email states there had been “obvious breaches of law and policy” throughout the year, adding that breaches have resulted in “many charges being stayed, or not approved.”
The email goes on to say “several files and incidents” that could have resulted in PSU (professional standards unit) investigations were “dealt with at the lowest level” and “many officer and public safety concerns” were raised on a regular basis.
“They need to get to the bottom of this and find out exactly what it going on because the public needs to have confidence that when police are out on patrol or doing their duty in the community, that they are obeying the law they are following the procedures,” Farnworth said. “Everything they were trained to do.”
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Surrey RCMP refused to do an on-camera interview regarding specific questions because last month’s incident is still before the courts and an internal review is still ongoing.
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Detachment spokesperson Const. Sarbjit Sangha said there was no information to date to indicates the issue was anything more than inconsistencies in training or procedural awareness.
The matter is out of the jurisdiction of B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, which does not have oversight of the RCMP.
Despite the review being conducted internally within the RCMP, Farnworth said the public can have confidence in the process.
“The fact that we are having this conversation is shining a spotlight on it,” he said.
“It starts with an internal review and there may be other consequences that flow from that.”
— with files from Rumina Daya