Referendum on policing in Surrey needed, mayoral candidate Gill says

City staff to be asked to make plans for third-party review of Surrey’s policing options

Tom Gill wants to know if Surrey residents think the city has outgrown policing by the RCMP.

The Surrey First mayoral candidate is pitching the idea for a municipal referendum on whether Surrey should have its own police department.

The referendum would be held sometime in 2019, after the Oct. 20 civic election this fall.

At Monday’s council meeting, Gill said he plans to introduce a motion at next week’s council meeting directing city staff to make plans for a third-party review of Surrey’s policing options, including bringing back a city police force.

The review would include “extensive public consultation and input, followed by a special municipal referendum on a Surrey police department in 2019,” according to a release.

•RELATED STORY: Surrey’s political hopefuls agree – change in RCMP policing model is needed.

Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in Canada, with close to 835 officers employed here.

“It’s time to ask our residents what they think of having a Surrey police department, one with deep roots in the community, and one that reports completely to the people of Surrey, instead of RCMP headquarters in Ottawa,” Gill stated.

“Frankly, I think we need to ask ourselves if we’ve outgrown the RCMP.”

In 1950, Surrey council voted to hand over policing duties from the Surrey Municipal Police Department to the RCMP. Fifteen RCMP constables began patrolling the city in May of the following year.

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