Premier Christy Clark announces new funding for ant-gang initiatives in Surrey on Friday.

B.C. commits funds for gang initiative

Surrey will get its own Crown counsel dedicated to handling cases with ties to guns and gangs (with video)

The province is pouring $23 million into gang enforcement over the next three years, the premier announced in Surrey on Friday.

Premier Christy Clark stood on the lawn of Surrey’s RCMP E-Division headquarters in Green Timbers Urban Forest Friday to commit the money for police teams and prosecutors to help combat gang involvement in the province.

Flanked by high-ranking RCMP officers and police chiefs throughout the region, Clark said the violence associated with gangs will come to an end.

“What’s happening with gangs is not a Surrey problem, it’s a British Columbia problem,” Clark said. “We know that when we undertake tough enforcement in one city, many of those gangs and gang members – just like cockroaches – find their way to other cities around the province.

“We need to be integrated in our approach to gangs.”

The $23 million will fund a three-pronged approach to ending violence, which has been particularly evident in Surrey, which has seen 32 shootings so far this year.

RELATED: Interactive chart of violent crime in Surrey from 2005-2014

The first pillar is investigation, apprehension and prosecution of gangsters.

To that end, two 10-man teams will be added to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CSFEU), the province’s integrated anti-gang unit.

In 2014, B.C. cut $2.8 million from the CFSEU budget, saying that in tough economic times, the province had to live within its means.

The new funding announced this week will also pay for a dedicated prosecutor in Surrey to work primarily with the gang and shooting files.

Another pillar deals with “community engagement” and calls for the establishment of a new Office of Crime Reduction and Gang Outreach to help people involved in criminal activities escape gang life.

It also calls for a Firearms Task Force to strengthen provincial and federal programs around illegal guns.

In addition, an extra $450,000 is being tabled to support Crime Stoppers to offer more cash for tips about illegal firearms.

The final pillar calls for legislation that will support potential outreach programs and examine ways to further restrict gangsters’ tools of the trade.

“The people of Surrey should know this: We will not rest until we put an end to this cycle of violence, in this city, and cities all across the province,” Clark said. “We are going to give the RCMP, and police forces, the support that they need to go after these low-life, low-level criminals who are making people feel unsafe.”

Harry Bains, the NDP MLA for Surrey-Newton, said after the announcement the news is welcome, but he wants to see more proactive resources.

“We need to put more resources in prevention, more resources in education, so we don’t have to react the way we are reacting,” Bains said.

Sue Hammell, NDP MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, said she’s glad there are more resources on the way, but she said the measures come a little late.

Hammell said B.C. has a crisis with drugs, Surrey has a crisis with violence from the delivery of drugs, and there remains a staggering lack of places for people to recover from addiction.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said she was extremely pleased with the announcement, particularly the addition of a Crown counsel here that will deliver justice in a much swifter fashion.

She notes the city and province have to get out in front of the problem so the vacuum created by arrests isn’t quickly filled.

“The only thing that’s going to slow this down is education,” Hepner said, adding there are many addicts driving the market for dealers. “Therein lies a very vulnerable population. We need to attack it from every single angle.”

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension faces potential delays due to COVID-19

Pandemic ‘adversely’ impacting TransLink’s finances; ‘much work’ required to approve next investment plan

SIMPSON: For real leadership amid crisis, look west of Scott Road

Delta council, under direction of Mayor George Harvie, defines leadership during pandemic

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at Peace Arch Park ‘oasis’

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Cloverdale businessman funds wells in Cambodia

Revive Washing in Clayton Heights donates three per cent of profits to charity

Cloverdale youth pastor’s sexual-assault sentencing delayed

Samuel Emerson due to return to Surrey Provincial Court in August

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Chilliwack teachers, assistants concerned with lack of PPE guidelines ahead of school reopening

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

Most Read