Formation of Surrey municipal police force moves ahead (update)

TUESDAY UPDATE:

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said on Tuesday: “Work on the Surrey Police Department (SPD) has been progressing with the recent hire of an Executive Director for the Surrey Police Board. Applications for the Surrey Police Board have closed, and the interview process is underway to select the members for SPD’s Police Board.”

EVEN as the RCMP and its supporters have been unleashing every possible attack against the formation of the Surrey municipal police force – including vicious personal attacks on Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum (which have disgusted decent folks) and use of scare tactics involving the novel coronavirus situation – government sources told The VOICE that the formation process is moving ahead and there is no way that they will cancel it.

There have been a lot of applications for a police board for the new force. The Province now has to set up the mechanism to select the board. The government can do that by order in council or it could wait till the House is able to meet again.

Regarding costs, the sources point out that it’s premature to know what the exact costs are because the budget will have to be set by the police board. They also note that the City of Surrey has said that it has enough funding to start the process going.

Regarding a poll conducted by the RCMP’s National Police Federation (NPF) in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that claims that 83% of Surrey residents say now is not the time to replace the RCMP, the Provincial sources say polls will not make the government change its mind, besides the fact that trying to take advantage of the current situation to sway public opinion is inappropriate.

Legal sources basically told The VOICE what we had reported in early March. At that time they had noted that there is no legal basis for holding a referendum on replacing the RCMP and that only the City can hold one. The Province cannot hold a referendum on a municipal matter.

They had also pointed out that the City Council had voted unanimously in favour of a municipal police force and that McCallum had run on the platform that he was going to form his own police force.

They had also pointed out that all the councillors voted for the municipal police force just after the election. But when they got all the pushback from the RCMP and their supporters, they split off into different sections.

Councillors who oppose a municipal police force are Linda Annis, the sole Surrey First candidate, along with those who ditched the Safe Surrey Coalition after winning thanks to McCallum: Jack Hundial, Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew.

McCallum is backed by Safe Surrey Coalition councillors Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Doug Elford.

The legal experts told The VOICE at the time: “The City was clearly within its right to ask for their own police force. The Police Act says that any city with a population of more than 5,000 can decide what type of police force they want. And they had the RCMP since 1951. So now they decided – and it’s their legal right to decide this – that we want our own police force.

“And by the way, Surrey is the largest city in Canada without its own police force and governance is the most important thing. By having your own police force, you can govern the police force. You can’t govern the RCMP – all the decisions are made in Ottawa. So that’s a big reason for having your own police force.”

They had also explained the process: “When the City said that we want our own police force, they have to go to the Province because the Province is responsible for all the policing in the Province. The Province then has to entertain the application. They can’t say ‘oh, we are not going to give you the opportunity; after all, we like the RCMP.’ They can’t do that. Surrey’s got the right to get their own police force – and they have to pay for it, of course – but it’s their right to do it. So the idea to say ‘well, we want the RCMP by all these petitions and signatures,’ it really doesn’t mean anything after the City has already decided that.”

They had also noted: “The only authority that can stop the formation of a Surrey police force would be the provincial government, but why would the provincial government overrule the City Council? Can you imagine the fuss on that!”

They had pointed out that Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has said that he’s been getting all these emails and so on opposing a Surrey municipal police force and added: “He’s said this was Surrey’s decision – we had to comply with it. Period.”

REGARDING the recent attack on McCallum by Alistair Macintyre, RCMP Assistant Commissioner (Retired), people want to know what he and his male colleagues did regarding all the sexual harassment of female RCMP officers by male RCMP officers. If he did anything, can he show them the proof. And if he didn’t, was he really so ignorant of what was going on in his own force?

Just Google “RCMP harassment of women officers” and you can read a zillion reports on this horrific situation that the poor RCMP female officers had to go through – it is unbelievable!

This is what RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said last March when an RCMP class action settlement was approved by the Federal Court: “The harassment and retaliation faced by those who will be compensated through this settlement is unacceptable. These women worked alongside us, within our walls, and were entitled to a safe and respectful workplace. The trust of the public flows, in part, from their perception of how we treat each other, so it is essential that the RCMP continues to improve our workplace culture and environment.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I am against the Surrey Police Force idea. It will cost taxpayers millions of dollars at a time when the economy is tanking. The idea of mayor McCallum running a police board overseeing the Surrey Police Force is a disaster waiting to inevitably happen. Back in 2005 when mayor he told the RCMP to stop releasing crime statistics because it made Surrey look bad. Fortunatly the RCMP refused. At the time we had the highest per capita auto theft rate of Canada and the USA beating Campden, NJ the previous leader which was so bad 60 Minutes did a report on it. I lived in Whalley at the time. Open use of meth, street prostitution in front of QE Elizabeth high school and on other streets, I saw drug addicts harassing mentally retarded ppl, was attacked by two youths with knives at night in front of the Ecole Secondary where I also saw ppl selling heroin at night, someone tried to set fire to my car, had the hubcaps stolen, various Bandidos and HAMC activity etc. I do not support McCallum and I want this new police force stopped. Get off the pot Mr.Farnsworth and stop this unwanted, expensive, unaffordable action.

    • And guess who was policing Surrey at that time? The RCMP! I wonder who’s really smoking pot!
      McCallum was elected on this promise of a municipal police force and ALL eight councillors voted in its favour at the very first Council meeting. This is a democracy – not a mob-cracy being incited by the RCMP and its supporters! Remember the RACIST slogans that were shouted by RCMP supporters at the Council meeting last year?

      • I quit all illegal drugs including pot in 2002. I was at the budget meeting and there were hundreds of pro-McCallum Indos there including some pretty big dudes. Many of the Genesis security guards were Indo. I don’t remember a single non-Indo McCallum supporter there. The anti-McCallum side was mostly Caucasians but some Indos and a scattering of Asians and Blacks. The leader of the anti-McCallum side a Caucasian dude specifically told ppl twice to be respectful. I don’t recall any racist yells but I certainly recall lots of shouts against the scared, panicky mayor McCallum and I shouted at him as well. The whole council chamber has security cameras and I am sure 80% of the ppl who attended on both sides had cell phones. Can you provide such proof of racist slogans at the meeting last year? I have torn down anti-Sikh and white supremacist stickers and posters in Newton so don’t try and tag me a racist. https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!searchin/van.general/city$20council$20meeting$20mccallum/van.general/J4HU7E1zdZI

        • All major news outlets at the time clearly reported the racist slogans / remarks. Even this newspaper received a letter – that I carried just to show the stereotyping – that said a Surrey police force would bring in corruption from Punjab! Of course, your prejudice will remain no matter what.

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