THE City of Surrey has been given approval to proceed with the formation of Surrey Police Department, following a review by Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, of the report submitted by the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee.
“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 Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum on Thursday. “With Minister Farnworth’s final approval to establish the Surrey Police Board, today marks day one for the Surrey Police Department.”
With a population of nearly 600,000, Surrey is the only major city in the country without its own city police department.
“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. “Local responsibility, priorities and oversight will reside within the Surrey Police Board, which will be comprised of our most qualified citizens. City staff 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.”
MEANWHILE, the Province announced that Farnworth has granted approval to create a municipal police board for the City of Surrey – the next stage in the plan to transition from the RCMP to a municipal police department.
The Province in a press statement said: “Having considered the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee’s report, as well as the recommendation of the director of police services, in line with section 3 of the Police Act, the minister is confident that the key aspects of the transition plan that required more detail have been thoroughly considered.
“Chaired by Wally Oppal, the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee included representatives from the City of Surrey, the ministry and independent consultants with specialized expertise. The committee was established in August 2019 to ensure the City of Surrey’s transition plan addressed all key issues, and its work has now concluded.”
The Surrey police board, once established, will be responsible for creating and governing the Surrey Police Department. Responsibilities will include:
* being the employer of the police and civilian employees;
* providing financial oversight for the police department;
* establishing policies and direction for the police department; and
* managing service and policy complaints against the department.
To support the transition process, the Policing Model Transition Secretariat (established in spring 2019) and the director of police services will continue to provide oversight, leadership and support for the Province and the City of Surrey. This will ensure provincial accountabilities, public safety and police oversight are maintained throughout.
All parties involved acknowledge the complex scale of a transition this size and are committed to co-operation and collaboration with Public Safety Canada and the RCMP.
A timeline for the transition will be determined by key partners as this work progresses.
In 2018, the City of Surrey initiated termination of its agreement with the RCMP and the transition to a municipal police force, in accordance with its powers under the Police Act.
For a factsheet on the transition process, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/surrey-police-transition-process