It will be up to Surrey’s yet-to-be formed police board, which will be chaired by Mayor Doug McCallum, to determine what will happen with the RCMP’s five-district community policing model and if the new city police force will continue with it.
The Surrey RCMP, under McCallum’s watch, divided the city into the five districts of Whalley/City Centre, Guildford/Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale, and South Surrey in January 1998.
The idea behind setting these districts – each with its own satellite station, commanding officer and Mounties dedicated to policing within their assigned neighbourhood – was to decentralize policing from the main detachment in Newton in support of a more community-based approach, with the intent of police officers developing better connections within and more intimate knowledge of the specific district they are assigned to.
“The chief would make recommendations. At this point the initial transition plan outlines essentially maintaining them as they are, but again once the chief is in place and that’s reviewed, it will be up to the board, the chief and the board, to confirm,” Terry Waterhouse, general manager of the policing transition for the City of Surrey, told the Now-Leader on Friday.
Meantime, many are wondering if the new police department will operate out of the main detachment building, at 14355 57th Ave., which the RCMP moved into in 1990.
“I think all of those facilities are owned by the city,” Waterhouse said, “and so once the Surrey Police is operational I think is operational I think you can anticipate that those will be Surrey Police facilities. Again, it’s not my decision to make, but I think it’s safe to anticipate that that’s the case.”
McCallum said the RCMP’s detachment building is where he would prefer the Surrey Police to be headquartered.
“It has all the factors, that I personally, would like to see as a headquarters,” McCallum said, referring to its central location in the city and proximity to the Surrey provincial court house.
– With a file by Lauren Collins.