The Surrey Police Union, representing Surrey Police Service officers, is calling on a Surrey councillor to recuse himself from voting on a critical decision on policing in Surrey, a situation that could potentially jeopardize the Surrey RCMP’s tenure as this city’s police of jurisdiction.
The union noted in a press release issued Tuesday that it has submitted a formal request to the City of Surrey Ethics Commissioner to disqualify Coun. Rob Stutt, chairman of the Public Safety Committee and a former Surrey Mountie, from voting in a final decision that’s expected to be before council this month as to who will be the city’s police of jurisdiction – the RCMP or the SPS.
There is one more council meeting scheduled for this month, on June 19. At council’s last meeting, on June 5, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke said her “goal” is for city staff to put before council this month a comprehensive corporate report so it can make a “final and informed decision” on the policing transition.
In February the union filed a complaint with the commissioner alleging conflict-of-interest on Stutt’s part. Its president Rob Stewart issued a statement charging that Stutt voted to end the transition to Surrey Police Service from the Surrey RCMP without disclosing that his son is employed by the Surrey RCMP and his daughter is seconded from the City of Surrey and assigned to the RCMP. Nor did Stutt recuse himself, Steward stated.
The union is concerned this crucial vote will take place before the ethics commissioner’s office finalizes its decision on its complaint.
“We believe Stutt is purposely delaying his participation in the investigation. This investigation has been dragged out for months. The Surrey Police Union has been cooperative and responsive; Stutt is still silent,” the SPU press release reads.
The Now-Leader has reached out to Stutt and Mayor Brenda Locke for comment.
“We’re demanding Councillor Stutt voluntarily recuse himself from any upcoming votes about policing in Surrey,” reads a statement attributed to Stewart. “Stutt ran on a promise of ethics and integrity at city hall during the municipal election. Now is the time to show that leadership.”
In December, council decided in a 6-3 vote to approve a “draft report” on retaining the Surrey RCMP rather than forging ahead with the transition to the Surrey Police Service. Locke, Stutt and fellow Surrey Connect councillors Harry Bains, Pardeep Kooner and Gordon Hepner and Surrey First Coun. Mike Bose voted in favour and Safe Surrey Coalition councillors Doug Elford, Mandeep Nagra and Surrey First Coun. Linda Annis were opposed.