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Surrey mayor hopes plan to reverse police transition ready for Farnworth by November’s end

Solicitor General Mike Farworth expects plan ‘would be made public for the citizens of Surrey’
Surrey mayor-elect Brenda Locke and B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. (File photos)

Surrey Mayor-elect Brenda Locke is hoping the city’s plan to reverse the policing transition from the Surrey RCMP to Surrey Police Service will be before Solicitor General Mike Farnworth for consideration by the end of November.

The untransition plan is already “well underway,” Locke told the Now-Leader on Monday, “both from the operational side and from the financial side.

“I’m hoping, I can’t give you an actual date, but I’m hoping it’s by the end of November because we need to know where we’re going for the budget moving forward, because of course the budget implications are significant with it.”

Surrey’s new council will be sworn in on Nov. 7 and Locke expects council will start working on the city’s budget in December.

Locke ran her campaign on reversing the transition process, arguing it lacked transparency, a feasibility study and will cost taxpayers dearly.

Locke and her Surrey Connect slate said during the election campaign that keeping the RCMP would save Surrey residents $520 million over the next four years while forging ahead with the SPS will result in heavy property tax increases averaging an estimated $965 more per year for detached homes, $424 more for townhouses and $282 for apartments.

READ ALSO: Farnworth says Surrey can submit ‘untransitioning’ police plan

Farnworth, who is also minister of public safety, told the Now-Leader that the transition is “well advanced at this stage and reversing it is a complex process with important implications, and a significant amount of work needs to be undertaken.

“Critically, the City of Surrey must put forward a transition plan that deals with all the components of reversing the transition, including addressing human resources issues, the capital plan, and the financial cost of the reversal,” Farnworth said. “I also expect that the plan would be made public for the citizens of Surrey, so that they are aware of how the process will unfold. Any plan would be reviewed by the Director of Police Services and myself to ensure adequate and effective policing is maintained in Surrey, and across the province.

“As always, public safety continues to be the core driving principle for all decisions and timelines related to policing in Surrey, and throughout the province,” Farnworth added.

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About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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