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Surrey Mounties say Surrey Police Union shared ‘protected police information’ on social media

The Surrey RCMP says it has alerted Surrey Police Service to investigate
Surrey Mountie and Surrey Police Service officers on patrol together. (File photo)

The Surrey RCMP says the Surrey Police Union has shared “protected police information” on social media and that the Surrey Police Service has been alerted to investigate.

“Surrey RCMP is aware of a photograph of protected police information shared by the Surrey Police Union on social media. The matter has been brought to the attention of Surrey Police Service to initiate and conduct an investigation,” Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards, in charge of the Surrey RCMP, told the Now-Leader on Thursday.

“In addition, Surrey RCMP is simultaneously investigating the origin of the photograph and will conduct a security review of the incident.”

Paul Daynes, of Keep the RCMP in Surrey, characterized the information as “compromising, it could potentially compromise the anonymity of the individuals concerned. That’s my understanding.

“It’s a security code, it’s supposed to be internal, it’s not supposed to be put out there in the public,” he said. “I understand it’s a big deal, that’s all I understand.”

A tweet was re-sent, the second version with two items blurred out that could be read clearly in the first.

Surrey Police Service spokesman Ian MacDonald confirmed the RCMP’s request and is investigating.

“We’ve informed the Office of the Police Complaints Commission,” he said. “We are obviously going to investigate the incident but we’re also interested in the totality of the post, which would include staffing, which would include public safety and which would include officer safety. We’re interested in everything, not just the post itself.”

But the SPU’s president, Staff Sgt. Rick Stewart, said the image showing “alarming staffing levels” in the dispatch centre “is in no way confidential or protected.

“In fact, all union members have a fundamental right to report public safety concerns to their superiors and/or union leadership,” he said. “Further, this information has not been previously shared with the public, and at this critical juncture in history, the SPU strongly believes that transparency, openness and accountability must be the procedural principles that guide us. As such, we released the image in support of full disclosure and an honest debate surrounding the future of policing in Surrey.”

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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