Surrey Police Service officers complained of ‘harassment’ by RCMP: court documents – BC

Lawyers for the Surrey Police Union say officers were subjected to harassment and disrespect by members of the Surrey RCMP, only to be left in a “jurisdictional vacuum” when federal and British Columbia agencies refused to investigate their accusations.

Claims that Surrey Police Service officers working alongside the RCMP in Surrey were subjected to a “toxic work environment” are contained in documents related to the City of Surrey’s legal challenge against an RCMP transition to the municipal force.

Lawyers for British Columbia’s Ministry of Public Safety had attempted to seal documents containing the allegations, but the judge denied it and the union’s documents were filed Thursday.

Ministry lawyers had warned that the documents could cause “undue public concern” about the situation at the Surrey RCMP detachment, where members of the Surrey Police Service were also deployed during the transition.

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The evidence is attached to an affidavit from union president Rick Stewart, who says in one of the documents that union members’ experiences “illustrate systemic understaffing, insufficient supervision and unsafe tactics in the Surrey RCMP “.

A January 2023 “Respectful Workplace Investigation Summary” by Surrey Police Service Insp. Bal Brach says 12 Surrey officers reported 50 incidents of “harassment and/or disrespectful behavior” by RCMP colleagues.

Brach’s report says some RCMP supervisors engaged in an “ongoing scheme of disrespect and harassment” against Surrey officers whom they had “negatively reported” to their superiors.

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Says a “mixed race” Surrey officer reported that an RCMP or City of Surrey employee said he “didn’t like” the city of Toronto because there were “too many ‘black’ people there,” and a month later saw two Mounties “play a racialized and discriminatory game that mocked a black suspect.”

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Brach’s report says other members of the Surrey Police Service complained of being ridiculed, bullied or publicly ostracized while working with the Surrey RCMP.

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It says an RCMP member had a flag that said “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” and a political sign supporting Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke displayed on his desk.

Locke was elected on a promise to stop the transition and keep the RCMP in Surrey, but the province made legislative changes that forced the change. That measure has been the subject of a legal challenge from the city this week, which seeks judicial review.

The documents say efforts by union lawyers to have the matters investigated were hampered when federal and provincial agencies declined jurisdiction over bullying and harassment concerns.

A letter from union attorney Sebastian Anderson to a private arbitrator describes the situation.

“Despite complaints filed with both WorkSafeBC and Labor Canada, both government agencies have declined jurisdiction: WorkSafeBC because workplaces are regulated at the federal level and Labor Canada because employees are regulated at the provincial level,” the letter says. which is among the tests.

“We recognize that the unique nature of this dispute gives rise to challenging and interesting jurisdictional issues due to the deployment of provincially regulated employees in federally regulated workplaces.”

The RCMP is not involved in the court dispute, but issued a statement after the court refused to seal the materials on Tuesday.

“The RCMP is committed to providing a healthy, safe and respectful workplace for all employees, free from harassment and discrimination,” he said.

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“Surrey RCMP and SPS officers have worked together on the detachment for over two years and have done so with professionalism.”

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