The Surrey Police Service hopes the province’s endorsement of the fledging police force will convince council to come together and end the debate once and for all, SPS Chief Norm Lipinski said.
“This is a rare opportunity to build a police service that is rooted in the principles, values and realities of today’s world, and a chance to redefine policing for Surrey,” he stated in a release sent Friday. “This policing transition is not about simply changing the colour of the uniform – it is about bringing a new era of policing to Surrey.”
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth delivered on Friday morning (April 28) what many in this city would characterize as an agonizingly long-overdue decision on its controversial policing transition, concluding that Surrey should continue with its transition from the Surrey RCMP to the Surrey Police Service.
“It is my hope that Council will recognize that now is the time to continue with this significant change in their policing model that will bring progressive and effective policing to the city for future generations,” Lipinski said.
The SPS Chief added that he hopes the province’s recommendation to continue the transition will finally move things forward in Surrey.
“I welcome the opportunity to work with the mayor and council and the provincial government on the very important next steps,” he said. “It is my hope that we can now come together and focus on continuing to build a modern police service for this growing and diverse city.”
For her part, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke said Friday that she has no intention of following the province’s recommendation, and is planning on staying the course and sticking with RCMP. In a press conference at Surrey City Hall Friday morning (April 28), Locke said a heavily redacted report from the province does nothing to change her mind on policing in the city.
“Our decision has not changed,” Locke said about the city council’s vote five months ago to retain RCMP for policing.
In a 25-minute news conference, Locke said she is “profoundly disappointed that the people of Surrey have been used as a piece on the Solicitor General’s chess board.
“The truth is, the original decision to allow this transition to go ahead was rushed and done without due diligence, and Surrey taxpayers have been paying dearly for it ever since.”
Meanwhile, Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards and Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald spoke to media Friday afternoon in Surrey expressing disappointment that the saga continues.
“While all of us had hoped for definitive clarity on this issue today, it appears we are going to have to wait a while longer,” McDonald said.
– With file from Tom Zillich