On August 22, 2019, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced plans to begin work on the Surrey Police Transition Plan by specifically appointing former Attorney General Wally Oppal with a committee to oversee the work, alongside the City of Surrey and other experts. The BC Government has given the go-ahead on the Surrey Police Transition contingent on the committee’s recommendations.
“As many people are aware the Surrey Board of Trade has advocated to keep the Surrey RCMP in Surrey, to harness and enhance our existing resources and address any deficiencies in our public safety infrastructure,” said Anita Huberman CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “The BC Government has given the City of Surrey the green light to proceed on the Surrey Police Transition but have not given the final approval on the transition.”
“We anticipate that this will be a long process to fill in any gaps in the initial proposal and for Oppal’s committee to make the appropriate recommendations to the BC Government to ensure that Surrey’s public safety infrastructure and livability are not compromised.”
“While the analysis takes place, the Surrey RCMP still needs more officers to do their job.”
The Surrey Board of Trade will be calling for:
1. Ensuring that adequate and effective policing is maintained throughout the transition and beyond by asking for needed RCMP officers throughout the transition;
2. The formation of a community advisory council to offer feedback and input to the Surrey Police Transition Committee led by Wally Oppal;
3. Sustainable city budget goals – having the City of Surrey maintain the costs and not compromise other services/other infrastructure needs to make Surrey a world-class city.
4. Investments on other wrap-around services. Public Safety is not only about the police is about the needed social service supports that Surrey still needs.
5. Information on costing by the BC Government (e.g. funding for training to the Justice Institute of BC for officers).
6. Opportunities for public presentations to the Oppal committee;
7. Transparency by the BC Government to communicate accurate and complete costs of transition and operations of a new municipal force to residents and businesses as well as other findings through the staged process of evaluating the Surrey Police Transition Report; and,
8. Information on how integrated services (such as IHIT) will interface with a municipal police force.
9. Ensuring that the standards and conditions of policing are as high as possible so that public safety and liveability are not compromised at any time because of the transition.
The transition timeline is a forecasted completion by March 2021; however, without knowing the scope of work, committee members and issues to be addressed, the actual time frame for a transition will necessarily be determined by the committee has to determine if that is possible. The transition report suggests a new municipal force in Surrey would have 805 police officers, 325 civilian positions and 20 Community Safety Personnel. Currently, Surrey RCMP has 843 members. There are also 302 City of Surrey employees supporting the RCMP.
“The Surrey Board of Trade will continue to work to ensure Surrey is open for business and investment – locally and globally.”
For more information contact
Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade
604-634-0342 or firstname.lastname@example.org