Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention Convened

File photo of Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner Photo: Ray Hudson

Surrey: The Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention held its first meeting at City Hall on Thursday. The Task Force was formed to review existing programs and initiatives that target gang related violence and formulate new recommendations for enhancing or expanding existing programs and implementing new initiatives.

“Gang violence has long been a problem in Greater Vancouver and Surrey is no exception. I believe to be successful in combating this issue, enforcement and prevention are equally important,” said Mayor Linda Hepner.  “This Task Force has been convened to ensure that we continue to build on our successful Anti-Gang programs like WRAP, YoBro/YoGirl and the Gang Exiting Program and assess what more we can do, in our City and in our region. By bringing together a diverse cross section of our community, I am confident that the Task Force will be integral in identifying programs and service gaps that will help our youth remain out of the downward spiral of gang life and its inherent dangers.”

The Surrey RCMP’s long-term strategy in addressing the issue of youth gang involvement is to promote positive choices for kids and provide accessible support and guidance to parents,” said Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge. “Police play an integral role here, but not the only role, and I am pleased to see so many groups represented on the Mayor’s Task Force. I look forward to working with this group to gain new perspectives and develop strategies to protect our youth and our city.”

“With our Public Safety Strategy, we are committed to being collaborative and comprehensive in addressing our public safety challenges, said Terry Waterhouse, the Director of Public Safety Strategies. “That is why I am pleased to have three exceptional young people who know the reality of gang life join us on the Task Force. Their insight will be invaluable in helping to prevent young people from getting involved in the gang life.”

The Task Force will meet a minimum of six times and will engage in the following tasks:

  • review existing gang violence prevention programs and services,
  • identify gaps, challenges and issues with existing programs and services, and
  • prepare a final report outlining actionable recommendations for combatting gang violence.

At today’s inaugural meeting, the Task Force confirmed its membership, Terms of Reference, project scope, timeline and deliverables. Brief presentations on current gang prevention programs were given by Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP Detachment and Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett, Chief Officer of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).

 Members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention 

    • Mayor Linda Hepner (Chair)
    • Tom Gill, City Councillor (Deputy Chair)
    • Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament (Surrey Centre)
    • Mike Starchuck, City Councillor
    • Ary Azez, Citizen
    • Jordan Buna, Citizen
    • Laurie Cavan, GM, Parks Recreation and Culture, City of Surrey
    • Satbir Singh Cheema, CEO, Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society
    • Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett, Chief Officer, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – BC
    • Anita Huberman, Executive Director, Surrey Board of Trade
    • Victor Lall, President, South Asian Business Association of BC
    • Vincent Lalonde, City Manager, City of Surrey
    • Jamie Lipp, Director, Office of Crime Reduction & Gang Outreach Policing and Security Branch Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
    •  Dr. Keiron McConnell, Citizen
    • Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Officer in Charge of Surrey RCMP Detachment
    • Christine Mohr, Executive Director, Options Community Services Society
    • Rob Rai, Manager, Safe Schools, Surrey School District
    • Gopal Sahota, President-Elect, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board
    • Paul Sahota, Citizen
    • Balwant Sanghera, Citizen
    • Michelle Shaw, Director of Operations, Fraser Region Pacific Community Resources Society
    • Dr. Terry Waterhouse, Director, Public Safety Strategies, City of Surrey
    • Dwayne Weidendorf, Group Publisher & General Manager, Black Press