An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)

Opinion

LETTER: Key to understanding Surrey’s policing transition is to look ahead, not behind

Independent police service is long overdue and it shouldn’t be treated like political football

The Editor,

Though the City of Surrey’s transition to an independent police service has been underway for two years, that doesn’t seem to be stopping provincial politicians from weighing in on the matter.

Recently, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson became the latest politician to use the city’s decision as a way to drum up controversy and win votes among a small but vocal minority of residents who have been protesting a change to the status quo.

The City of Surrey’s decision to create its own independent police service may confuse some who don’t know the city well – but for those of us who have lived and worked here their majority of their lives, the need for a municipal force is self-evident. In the last few decades, our city has undergone an incredible transformation from sleepy suburb to sprawling urban hub. With Surrey’s population set to exceed that of Vancouver’s by the year 2040, the city boasts one of the fastest growth rates in Canada – and there’s no signs of that trend reversing.

In recent years, nearly one in five (19 per cent) immigrants to British Columbia chose to settle down in Surrey, with the city’s newcomer population increasing by 63 per cent between 2001 and 2011, compared with just 24 per cent for Metro Vancouver.

And while this growth has brought many amazing benefits to the city — a diversification of its economy, a flourishing of its downtown core, and a growing technology and innovation sector — the city’s growth hasn’t come without its challenges, either.

With thousands of Metro Vancouver families flocking to the city in search of an affordable place to live, work, and raise their children, Surrey is now the largest municipality in Canada without its own independent, municipal police department.

While smaller cities across Metro Vancouver have their own, locally-based police services – such as New Westminster, Delta, Port Moody and Abbotsford – Surrey has been relying on an RCMP policing model that is typically employed by rural communities. This policing model is simply no longer compatible with the city’s current size, or its future ambitions.

This is why many residents voted for Mayor Doug McCallum in Surrey’s last municipal election, when he led a group of councilors supporting a transition towards an independent, locally controlled police service.

As a long-term resident who lives, works, volunteers and is raising his family in Surrey, I too voted for this change. I strongly felt that Surrey deserved a police service of its own to address the significant social issues facing the city while scaling to meet its ever-increasing population.

Contrary to the current political posturing of provincial parties, nothing has happened since then to warrant a change of this position for me. Like many Surrey residents, I am looking forward to having a police service that is more responsive to community needs, more accountable to taxpayers, and more reflective of our growing diversity.

A municipal police service will allow our city to recruit and retain local talent. It will ensure that officers have a deep, vested interest in Surrey’s present and future livability. It will help keep our city strong, stable, and safe enough to continue to attract new talent and investment.

As Surrey closes in on becoming the largest city in British Columbia, I am proud to call it home. It is young, vibrant, and diverse – and it needs police service that reflects that.

I welcome the transition to a locally governed Surrey Police Service.

Daljinder Singh, Surrey



edit@surreynowleader.com

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

Surrey

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

Just Posted

Traffic was tied up at the intersection of Scott and Old Yale Roads in North Surrey on Tuesday afternoon, after a semi truck hauling a load of pipes flipped while making a turn. (Shane MacKichan photos)
VIDEO: Semi hauling load of pipes flips in North Surrey intersection

Traffic near Scott and Old Yale Roads tied up by Tuesday afternoon incident

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Tens of thousands of farmers descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Delta council stands in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers

Farmers have been protesting for months new laws they say leave them open to corporate exploitation

Shana Harris-Morris was killed Feb. 4. (GoFundMe photo)
IHIT says 22-year-old killed in Surrey shooting was ‘unintended victim’

Shana Harris’ family makes appeal for more information

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Man charged after pushing pregnant woman to the ground in Surrey, police say

Surrey RCMP say it appeared to be an ‘unprovoked assault’

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read