SURREY First Councillor Linda Annis said on Monday that the staff report coming to Surrey City Council on the speed of the police transition is disappointing because it reflects a serious lack of urgency and “no political enthusiasm or leadership” to get the transition done quickly. She said that approach is slowing things down and costing taxpayers an extra $266,000 per day because the city has two police forces.
Annis said she wants Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke to get past her opposition to the Surrey Police Service (SPS) and lead the city team and police board to get the transition completed faster than outlined in the report.
“I get it, the mayor wanted to keep the RCMP, but that ship has sailed,” noted Annis. “Mayor and council need to step up and instruct city staff and the SPS to get on with completing the transition as quickly as possible. City staff will move mountains if Mayor and council ask them to, and that’s what we need when it comes to the police transition. But without that political will and direction, things get bogged down and will take forever. When it comes to this issue, there’s no place for political spite, we need to get the transition done now, and stop putting up roadblocks that add more time and costs.”
Annis said the report to Council shows a process that lacks political support and leadership, and is mired in identifying hurdles and problems rather than generating much-needed and speedy solutions.
“The report makes you feel like there is no particular hurry to get this done, or that it is now the province’s issue,” said Annis. “The fact is, it is our police department and we need to get on with it. Having two police departments is costing our taxpayers an added $266,000 per day. We need to make this our city’s number one priority and we need to complete the transition in a timely fashion. But that’s not what we see in this report, and that has to change quickly. The decision has been made, now let’s get on with doing the job and building the best police department in the province right here in Surrey.”