An “extremely disappointed” Surrey Police Service chief says while he’s concerned about council’s vote to cancel the policing transition and stick with RCMP, it’s not a done deal yet.
“While the city has rendered its decision, it is important to note that the minister of public safety and solicitor general has not yet approved a transition back to the RCMP,” Norm Lipinski stated in a press release sent Friday afternoon.
“As per the BC Police Act, the minister is responsible for ensuring an adequate and effective level of policing is maintained throughout B.C. – he would need to be satisfied that can occur with a transition back to the RCMP.”
In what she called a “return to normalcy” in the city, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke announced Friday that in a closed-door vote Thursday, city council voted to keep RCMP as its police of jurisdiction, cancelling the transition to Surrey Police Service.
Lipinski said he’s surprised council would so easily shrug off the province’s recommendations about policing.
“It is concerning that council has made this decision, despite the province of B.C.’s clear and evidence-based recommendation that the City of Surrey continue its transition to SPS in order to ensure public safety for Surrey and across B.C.”
In April, Farnworth recommended Surrey’s transition to the Surrey Police Service should continue. The province also offered financial support – up to $150 million over the next five years – to the City of Surrey if it chose to continue the transition to a municipal police force to ensure no additional costs to Surrey residents.
Lipinski said SPS employees have born the brunt of Surrey’s ongoing policing saga.
“After years of uncertainty regarding the future of policing in Surrey, SPS is imploring the province to provide a clear and swift response to council’s decision in the coming days. Our 400 employees are understandably extremely concerned for their livelihoods. They left their previous jobs – and in some cases uprooted their families – in good faith, knowing this project had been approved by government to move forward over three years ago.
“They deserve a resolution once and for all, as do Surrey residents and business owners.”