VICTORIA – The British Columbia government is set to reveal its decision today on which force will police the City of Surrey, potentially ending a political tug of war over whether it will be the RCMP or an independent department.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is also the province’s public safety minister, says whether he decides to allow Surrey to revert to the RCMP or continue its transition to the municipal Surrey Police Service, he’s confident officers with either force will continue to do excellent work.
Uncertainty around policing in Surrey has swirled since October, after the election of Mayor Brenda Locke who campaigned on a promise to stop the city’s transition to the municipal force and go back to the RCMP.
A government report recommended last spring against moving back to the Mounties, citing concerns over public safety and the high number of job vacancies within the RCMP, but Surrey council rejected the report and pledged to go back to the RCMP.
The government also offered $150 million to help the city transition to the municipal force, but Farnworth said there would be no provincial funding if the city decided to stick with the Mounties.
Locke and Farnworth have traded public barbs over the situation, with the mayor accusing the minister of bullying and misogyny, while Farnworth said the city was playing “games” when it didn’t immediately provide details about how it would manage the switch.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 19, 2023.
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