B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. (Black Press Media)

Solicitor General has ‘no illusions’ about acrimony over Surrey’s police transition

Farnworth wants report released to public ‘a week this coming Tuesday’

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says he’s “under no illusions” that many Surrey residents do not want to see the Surrey RCMP replaced with a city police force but acknowledged that the City of Surrey has the right and the authority to say it wants to move to a new policing model.

Asked if he’s concerned about any political fallout for the NDP for approving the transition, Farnworth had this to say.

“Look, I fully understand that whenever an issue like this emerges and that you have to deal with, that there are strong views on both sides of the issue. I’m under no illusion about that, and I fully respect that,” he told the Now-Leader. “The key elements in guiding the decision is one, my statutory responsibility to ensure that a transition plan provides safe and effective policing, but also to understand and to recognize that there are pieces of legislation underlying the whole process, which is the City of Surrey is responsible for policing.

“It’s laid out in the Police Act. They are the ones who get to decide what kind of model they want,” he said.

Farnworth noted that “aligned with that legislation is the contract that is currently in place” and that contract allows the City of Surrey to say it wants to change its policing model, and how to go about doing it, which is to give two years notice.

“The City of Surrey is democratically elected, they had the motion, they took it to council, they have given the province the notice and it is on that basis that the City of Surrey has the right and the authority to say ‘We want to move to a new policing model.’”

READ ALSO: Surrey councillors ‘very disappointed’ as B.C. gives final approval of city police force

READ ALSO: Surrey police will replace RCMP, government confirms

READ ALSO: ‘This situation is discouraging’: Surrey’s top cop responds to police force approval

Meantime, Farnworth said in a teleconference call with reporters on Thursday that public safety is always the “number one priority” and that he wants the “extremely comprehensive and thorough” transition report released to the public “as soon as possible.

“There is some issues in terms of information that is of a sensitive nature, but my expectation right now is I’m looking at a week this coming Tuesday to have that report released,” he said. “Minus some sensitive information.”

“It outlines, in eleven chapters, exactly what has to happen.”

Farnworth noted the transition costs will be borne by the City of Surrey.

“We have been clear about this right from the very beginning. In fact the City of Surrey has put in place a five-year, in their budget, transition costs,” he said. “The decision is Surrey’s, and those costs are borne by Surrey, and the Police Act and the police contract allow for them to make that decision.

“My job is to ensure that a transition is done properly,” Farnworth said, “and ensure safe and effective policing.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Police to work with integrated teams during transition from RCMP



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

BC NDPCity of SurreyPolice

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

Just Posted

Thousands of ‘PPE’ donated in Surrey, where one care home is ‘preparing for the worst’

SafeCare BC’s Operation Protect drive involves drop-off dates in Guildford

Psychologist’s advice on parenting in the pandemic

SFU psychology prof Dr. Tanya Broesch, with expertise in child development, discusses short and long-term impacts COVID-19 pandemic is having on children and parents alike

‘Every little step counts’: Surrey businesses donate meals for frontline hospital workers

Surrey Hospital Foundation has now received more than $70,000 in donations

‘Shocking decision’: Surrey soccer club won’t offer refunds to 350 teams for cancelled tourney

Registration fees would top $171K for Surrey Mayor’s Cup, postponed due to COVID-19

VIDEO: Dog missing in Aldergrove since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Abbotsford man who tries to start gas-station fight gets sprayed with gasoline

Suspect returns with knife and throws it at victim, but is quickly arrested by police

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

Most Read