The Surrey Board of Trade presented their Surrey budget recommendations on November 30 at a public hearing of the City of Surrey Finance Committee and sent a letter last week to all BC MLA’s, including the Premier of BC and the Solicitor General of BC about Surrey ‘s policing transition.
REQUEST FROM THE SURREY BOARD OF TRADE CEO TO ALL BC MLA’S SENT ON DECEMBER 3
I ask you to review the enclosed letter about Surrey’s public safety situation. I can’t emphasize enough how serious the situation is in Surrey. This is especially important in light of the Throne Speech being delivered on Monday, December 7.
Why does this matter to you and your respective constituencies?
1. There will be cost impacts to the BC Budget, having tax and other cost impacts to both residents and businesses.
2. There will be public safety impacts to your communities – impacting both residents and businesses.
3. Public safety, a responsibility of the BC Government, has been and will continue to be compromised in Surrey with a reduction in the Surrey RCMP budget and no officer increase for the past two years, and for the next two years. This is even though Surrey, soon to be the largest city in BC, has a continued population growth by 1200-1400 a month.
Public safety matters to the business community, but we don’t have a corporate vote process.
The Surrey Board of Trade monitors public sector spending to maximize productivity in the economy and encourage growth in the private sector.
“BC and Surrey budgets are important as we evaluate whether tax rates are conducive for business growth, business retention and infrastructure investments,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “Especially in light of the pandemic, both levels of government need to support and focus on only economic recovery initiatives.”
“I hope that the BC Government can respond and take immediate action on this urgent, pivotal time in Surrey, in our province and in our nation. Public safety matters to business.”
In 2023, 10 additional police officers will be hired and each subsequent year for capacity improvements – this investment was needed in 2018 when Mayor and Council did not increase the number of police officers. It is not known when the new Surrey Police Service officers will be trained and ready to go on the ground. Further, trust with a new police force needs to be built over time with a new police service.
The BC Police Act states that:
Part 2 — The Minister – Adequate level of policing and law enforcement 2 The minister must ensure that an adequate and effective level of policing and law enforcement is maintained throughout British Columbia.
Regulations respecting policing and law enforcement
4 (1) Despite section 3, on the recommendation of the minister, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations to enhance, provide or reorganize policing and law enforcement in any or all areas of British Columbia, including, without limitation, in any or all municipalities to which section 3(2) applies.
(2) Costs incurred by the government under subsection (1) of this section in respect of a municipality to which section 3 (2) applies are a debt due to and recoverable by the government from the municipality.
4.01 (a)the minister considers that the regulations are necessary
(i) to address the frequency or complexity of criminal activities or investigations, or
(ii) to promote efficient or equitable delivery of policing and law enforcement services
The LETTER that the Surrey Board of Trade sent also asks the BC Government to take immediate action to explore if:
1. Service levels for public safety will be compromised during the transition in Surrey;
2. Sophisticated IT and associated equipment/infrastructure will be implemented during the transition and when the RCMP contract ends in 2021;
3. The Surrey Police Board is ensuring governance oversight of themselves to ensure public safety in Surrey; and,
4. There will be public trust in the new Surrey Police Service in Surrey to ensure public safety in Surrey.
The Surrey Board of Trade represents 6,000 member contacts. They support business and attract business to Surrey.
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, firstname.lastname@example.org