After the City of Surrey released what it called a “transitional plan” detailing the move from the RCMP to a municipal police force last year, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum announced the final approval of a new city police force.
“In just over one year, we moved from a unanimous council motion to full reality on our promise to deliver to the citizens of Surrey a city police department,” said McCallum. “With Minister [Mike] Farnworth’s final approval to establish the Surrey Police Board, today marks day one for the Surrey Police Department.”
The motion to create a city-based police department was first approved by the Surrey City Council on November 5, 2018.
In its plan, the city said 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.
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Currently, the Surrey RCMP has “an authorized strength” of 843 members, although there are currently 51 vacancies. The City of Surrey also has 302 employees who directly support the Surrey RCMP.
The costs of these employees, as well as all police facilities, are paid for by the city.
Last summer, the BC government announced that it had approved the establishment of a Surrey municipal police force.
“The time has come, and some would say it’s been long overdue, for Surrey to have a police force of its own where accountability begins and stays within our city,” said McCallum on Thursday. “Local responsibility, priorities and oversight will reside within the Surrey Police Board, which will be comprised of our most qualified citizens.”
City staff, he added, “will be working diligently with the Province to put the Surrey Police Board in place. I look forward to beginning the work with my fellow Board members to bring Surrey Police to full operational strength.”
More to come…