Surrey First mayoral candidate Tom Gill says he’s prepared to make handguns “the biggest issue in the election.”
“You can’t run for mayor, or council, and say you’re for public safety, and then turn around and say you’re fine with handguns in our city,” he said Thursday. “This issue requires leadership and determination because there’s no middle ground.”
Surrey First released the second part of its public safety platform on Thursday, calling for 125 more police officers, a referendum on whether the city should continue its contract with the RCMP, a new police board, a ban on handguns, “keeping gangs from kids” and “measurable results.”
“We’re a safe city, but it only takes a single shot to shatter that sense of safety,” said Councillor Tom Gill.
“I want policing to be directed locally, reflecting our Surrey priorities,” he said. “We need a Surrey police board created under the BC Police Act so that we can have more local control and accountability. That local authority is non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned. We are fast becoming the largest city in the province and we need that kind of community authority, oversight and direction.”
As for the 125 additional police officers, he said, if elected Surrey First would bring them in, at the cost of $160,000 per officer, over the next five years. Currently the Surrey RCMP detachment has 835 Mounties.
“The addition of another 125 officers will bring us to 960, still the largest RCMP detachment in the country.”
Gill said if elected he will want a full police services review with the first 9o days. He also said that if elected Surrey First will work with cities like Toronto and Montreal toward banning handguns.
“We want to do everything we can to keep guns off our streets and out of our city, and that means taking a hard stand against handguns. The last we want as Canadians is an American-style gun culture. This is Canada, we’re a civil society and handguns have no place in our communities.”