A group looking to keep the Mounties in Surrey has officially requested the province take oversight of policing in this city.
On Monday (Nov. 25), Keep the RCMP in Surrey Campaign coordinator Ivan Scott penned a letter to Mike Farnworth, the B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. In it, he asked the minister to “immediately place and retain the provision of all police services (under) B.C. Government control and supervision.”
The group is also requesting that Farnworth appoint an Inspector of Municipalities to ensure the City of Surrey is in legal compliance with all requirements under the Police Act.
In addition, they are asking for a complete audit of Surrey’s policing services.
Mayor Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey team ran a successful election campaign on extending SkyTrain, smart growth and replacing the RCMP with a municipal police force.
Several people have voiced opposition to the public safety switch, and Scott’s Keep the RCMP in Surrey group has now collected more than 32,000 signatures opposing the removal of the RCMP.
Scott is quick to point out it’s more than the number of votes obtained by Safe Surrey’s Mandeep Nagra. Scott says he will continue to gather signatures until he has 50,000, or more than McCallum’s number of votes.
He expects to have that number by February, and will bring them to the legislature in Victoria, to personally bring them to Farnworth.
At request of Pulse FM, Farnworth’s ministry responded to some of the questions put by Scott’s letter.
A spokesperson with the ministry said Surrey is currently operating within the requirements of the Act.
“Under the Police Act, municipalities with a population above 5,000 are responsible for providing, and bearing the necessary costs of, policing and law enforcement within their municipal boundaries,” the ministry said in an email response . “A municipality may choose to provide policing by: forming its own municipal police department, entering into an agreement with an adjacent municipality with a municipal police department, or entering into an agreement with the Minister for the provision of RCMP municipal police services.”
The ministry spokesperson also said a police transition study committee is continuing to work with Surrey on the transition.
“As this work progresses and prior to any decision being made on future phases of the process, public safety will continue to be the core driving principle for all decisions and timelines related to the transition of policing models,” the spokesperson said.
A Pulse FM request for comment from the mayor’s office was not responded to by the time of posting.