Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum says there is a “sense of urgency” to establish the city’s police force, following a daylight shooting in the Clayton Heights neighbourhood on Saturday that left one man dead.
“Our citizens are frustrated and, rightfully, fearful,” said McCallum in a statement. “Saturday’s shooting happened in broad daylight, at a gas station with shops nearby.”
He added the situation “appears to be getting worse with each incident as the gangs are so embolden [sic] that they don’t think twice about opening fire in daylight, in public areas or near schools.”
In August, the BC provincial government approved Surrey’s plan to establish a municipal police force.
A joint committee, chaired by former attorney general Wally Oppal, has also been created to oversee the next phase of the transitional process.
On its website, the City of Surrey said it “is now moving into implementation to put in place the necessary work to establish the new police department.”
But McCallum says the “lack of progress to date is disappointing and is unfortunately due to the bureaucratic red tape.”
“The community has made it clear to me that there is a sense of urgency and they want meaningful work to get underway immediately to bring Surrey Police to fruition,” he said.
“We owe it to the people of Surrey to make this transition as quickly and smoothly as possible.”
The motion to create a city-based police department was first approved by the Surrey city council on November 5, 2018.
The plan stresses that a local police force will be “more responsive” to the changing conditions and demands of the community. It’s also mentioned that out of the 19 Canadian population centres with more than 300,000 residents, Surrey is the only community that doesn’t have a local police force.
In a recent survey, less than 40% of Surrey residents said they were in favour of the transition from the city’s RCMP to a local police force.
With files from Vincent Plana.
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