Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

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

Brian Edwards says he respects Surrey’s decision, ‘but that is not to say this is not difficult for us’

Surrey’s top cop says he hopes to be brought into conversations in the coming weeks and months as the City of Surrey moves to a municipal police force.

Assistant Commission Brian Edwards says the “situation is discouraging” following the province’s final approval for the Surrey police force.

READ ALSO: Surrey police will replace RCMP, government confirms

“We respect that every municipality has the right to choose what type of police force they want for their city,” Edwards said in an emailed statement Thursday afternoon (Feb. 27).

“But that is not to say this is not difficult for us. Given the nature of the work we do in the community, we are heavily invested in Surrey and its residents. This situation is discouraging for our members who enjoy policing this community and, in particular, for those who live in Surrey and raise their families here.”

Edwards said that while he hasn’t seen the report done by the transition committee, he hopes to “be brought into those conversations.”

“I have not seen the report done by the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee, so I cannot comment on the process ahead, timeline, or policing structure during a transition,” he said. “I hope to be brought into those conversations in the weeks and months ahead so I can ensure the safety of Surrey residents and the wellbeing of members and employees throughout this process.”

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

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

Edwards added that “while there is still a long road ahead,’ he wanted to thank the “thousands of local citizens who have shown their support for the great work being done by the Surrey RCMP.”

“There is no denying that we have deep connection with this community, and that is a significant part of what motivates us in our work every day.”

Earlier in the day, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum spoke to the media following Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth’s approval for the City of Surrey to start a police board.

Asked if he had a message to Surrey RCMP officers, McCallum said: “I’ve lived in Surrey probably close to 50 years. I think they’ve done a great job. I’ve said that many times.

“They’ve done a great job. The reason we’re changing is that our growth has taken us beyond the ability for the RCMP to do it and we’re the last big city in Canada that hasn’t moved over to our own police force,” he said. “But for the men and women that have worked in Surrey and the RCMP, they’ve done a super job for this city. I congratulate them… I thank them for their service in Surrey.”

As for the switch to a municipal force, McCallum said Surrey residents want their police officers “to be out on our streets more often, walking on our streets.”

“Many of them, the reason that we will have a lot apply is because the families live here,” said McCallum. “Surrey’s a great place to bring up families and they want to be in a community that they work in. That’s why we’re going to see a lot of officers want to be in our force because they’re part of our community, so they want to work in the communities that they live in.

“I think when you look at successful police departments around the world, which we have done by the way, you’ll find that… the ones that want to have a very safe city often live within the city. They work very hard to make sure our city overall (is safe). Most of the time, they stay for their full careers and that’s a huge advantage.”

McCallum said there’s already been “quite a bit of interest” in people wishing to apply for the Surrey Police Department. He added that people from Calgary, Edmonton, Ontario and the Maritimes have shown interest.

“Surrey is, as you all know, the fastest-growing community certainly in B.C. People want to live here. We always used to say we’re growing at 1,000 people per month.”

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



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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

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

Just Posted

Claiming she has COVID-19, stranger coughs in Cloverdale woman’s face

Clayton Heights woman will now self-isolate for the next two weeks

Police watchdog finds cops blameless for deaths in 2019 Surrey hostage-taking

Woman was killed as ERT officers fired on man holding a knife to her throat and ‘what appeared to be’ a gun in his hand

No, Delta police are not pulling over cars to check for social distancing

DPD dispelling rumour cops pulling over vehicles with two or more people, checking IDs, issuing fines

White Rock/South Surrey experts launch website of mental-health resources

Together White Rock/South Surrey aims to help ease the search for supports

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland 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’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read