The BC Ministry of Public Safety has announced that the Surrey Police Service is the best way forward for the city.
BC Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the “strong recommendation” today after months of back and forth on the issue since Brenda Locke was elected the new mayor of Surrey.
One of Locke’s campaign promises was to keep the RCMP in Surrey.
It’s important to note that Farnworth described the decision as a recommendation and that Surrey must make the final call.
In November of last year, Daily Hive reported that there were already 315 Surrey Police Service officers on the force, making up about 43% of the “targeted strength,” according to the SPS.
Farnworth said that the best way to ensure the public’s safety was with the municipal force. He added that the province was ready to sit with the City of Surrey to provide financial support.
In a statement, former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum thanked the province for supporting the Surrey Police Service transition.
“With the ongoing RCMP vacancy challenges, it is clear that a municipal police force is the best way to ensure public safety in our community,” McCallum said.
Many reporters asked questions about the recommendation, specifically regarding funding. Long story short, Farnworth suggested that Surrey would only receive funding if it continued with the transition to the municipal force.
The Surrey Police Service states that over the next couple of years, it will look to hire over 800 police officers.
“Most will be experienced, but we anticipate hiring and training roughly 100 recruits as we grow.”
Farnworth noted that despite the decision, his support for the RCMP in the province is “unwavering.”