Surrey’s top cop doesn’t like the province’s plan to consolidate emergency communications services.
Right now, if a Surrey resident calls 9-1-1 and asks for police, the caller is redirected to city staff by E-COMM.
The Operations Command Centre is within the Surrey Detachment, and Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy says, that means senior RCMP members are able to direct field operations, enhancing safety.
Fordy also clearly wants to protect union jobs, noting 87 City staff, mostly CUPE, work at the call centre.
He says the OCC handles around 393-thousand incoming calls, and dispatched 155-thousand files to RCMP members.
But the province says there are issues with local call taking and dispatching services.
A discussion paper notes:
“911 PSAP is a local government responsibility in British Columbia and is optional. Local governments have worked to manage and improve service since the 911 system was implemented in the late 198os, when technology was predominately wire line telephone services (landlines). Three decades later, the system faces new and distinct challenges related to:
o Migration of households from wireline services to mobile wireless services;
o Implementation of Next Generation 911 (NG911) technologies;
o Gaps in the provision of 911 service;
o Ensuring resiliency of the 911 system amid major catastrophic events.
Given these challenges, there is a need-indeed, an opportunity-to revisit and renew the overall approach to 911 service deliver in British Columbia. By modernizing the current approach to a more streamlined, equitable and resilient system, the emergency communication system will be better positioned to enhance service province-wide”
The staff report, to be reviewed by the Public Safety Committee on Monday, says city staff is concerned that,
“if Surrey’s emergency communications services are consolidated into a single/larger provincial model outside the boundaries of the City of Surrey its current effectiveness and efficiency will be reduced.”
Fordy is asking Mayor Linda Hepner to fire off a letter to Suzanne Anton, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of British Columbia, expressing their opposition to the consolidation of emergency communications systems.
Read full staff report to Council here: