Surrey: Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, granted approval to create a municipal police board for the City of Surrey. The next stage in the plan, according to a BC Government media release, is to transition from the RCMP to a municipal police department.
It was noted in this release that the BC Government has 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, that the Minister is confident that the key aspects of the transition plan that required more detail have been thoroughly considered.
“The Surrey Board of Trade is disappointed with this decision,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “The key aspects of a transition plan have not been thoroughly considered which includes costing, labour, training and also public feedback. This transition will create additional costs to the BC Government, not considered in Budget 2020.”
As indicated in the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2020 city budget analysis, Surrey’s budget needs to be about making Surrey an opportunity city. Raising business property taxes by 5.5% with no consultation in this economic climate will lead to further tax burdens on businesses. The Surrey Board of Trade asked all of Mayor and Council to cancel the RCMP transition, improve development approvals, focus on economic development assets, art and culture investments, increase transparency and investments in housing and transportation strategies.
“With everything going on across the country, we need to utilize our current resources to grow our economy.”
“The Surrey Board of Trade, as an independent voice of business, will continue to monitor, observe, and advocate for business and livability in Surrey – that is the purpose of a Board of Trade/Chamber of Commerce.”
“This is a sad day for Surrey. Regardless, the Surrey Board of Trade will continue working with and in partnership with the Surrey RCMP, and any possible future police force, on public safety needs for the business community.”
The BC Government media release denoted that 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.