Surrey's largest South Asian temples call on BC to allow municipal police force

Jul 2 2019, 6:19 pm

Surrey’s largest South Asian temples have announced their support for a local police force in the city.

Executives of Surreys six largest Sikh Gurdwaras and the largest Hindu Mandir have sent a letter to BC’s Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, “requesting immediate action in allowing the plan to proceed” with a municipal police organization.

In the letter, the temple leaders say they are “concerned” Farnworth’s position on the matter offers an “undefined time frame for a city anxious for change.”

Last month, Farnworth responded to the City of Surrey’s police transition plan by stating he “won’t make a snap decision.”

According to the executives, “Surrey’s South Asian population is regularly disproportionately impacted by the violence that has infiltrated [the] city’s residential neighbourhoods over the past decade.”

“As community leaders, we are on the front lines of hearing the calls for change from residents who are tired of living in fear,” reads the letter.

“This is why Mayor Doug McCallum’s proposal to introduce a Surrey Police Department was and still is so widely supported. From the perspective of the tens and thousands of residents our institutions represent, the votes cast last October clearly demonstrate to move on from the RCMP in Surrey.”

The letter adds that a recent survey from the City of Surrey found that 93% of residents “strongly agreed” that a local police force needed to replace the city’s current RCMP detachment.

The group says it will continue to voice their position on the matter with Surrey Members of the Legislative Assembly “in the coming weeks and months.”

In a media release, Moninder Singh, president of Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, expressed his dismay with the current policing situation in Surrey.

“We are tired of waiting for real change in Surrey’s policing, which is why all of our executives have signed this letter to Mr. Farnworth,” said Singh.

“The BC government must listen to the people who voted in favour of Mayor Doug McCallum’s proposal last October.”

Satish Kumar, president of the Laxmi Narayan Temple, agreed with Singh.

“The people have spoken loud and clear, and the only thing that is standing in the way of progress at the moment is the BC government’s review.”

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