Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum on appointment of Surrey Police Board

SURREY Mayor Doug McCallum on Monday made the following statement on the appointment of the Surrey Police Board:

TODAY is truly a historic moment in the City of Surrey. It gives me great pride to announce that the Surrey Police Board has been officially appointed. The seven provincial appointees were given approval by the minister and cabinet with official confirmation made by the Lieutenant Governor. The seven provincial appointed board members will join Bob Rolls, previously appointed by Surrey City Council, and myself on the Surrey Police Board.

Today’s milestone is an important one. With the Surrey Police Board now in place, we can start in earnest the critical work ahead that will set the foundation for a new, innovative, modern and proactive police service that is tailor made for Surrey.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Premier [John] Horgan for his support for this project.

To [Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike] Farnworth, I want to thank you for the priority and attention you have given to Surrey Police every step of the way. The speed in which you and your team have worked to build this amazing Board must be duly recognized and commended.

To the men and women of Surrey RCMP, I want to acknowledge your service and dedication to our city. I want to sincerely thank all the RCMP members who serve in our city and who have helped to build what was once a farming community into the metropolitan area that Surrey is today.

The move to a city police service of this size is unprecedented and the substantial and complex work involved to make such a switch possible is no small undertaking. I want to thank all the city staff and the members of our policing transition team for their hard work and long hours. How far we have come in such a short time is proof of the quality of work you have done on this important file.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum (2nd from left) with (L-R) Councillors Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Doug Elford with the Surrey Police cruiser that was unveiled a year ago on May 7.

Where we are today began with a unanimous vote by Council on our inaugural night. To the Councillors who have stood by their vote and remained resolute in the move to a city police service, I commend and thank you for keeping your promise to the people of Surrey.

To the members of the Surrey Police Board, my congratulations to you. I understand there was no shortage of qualified applicants to serve on the Board, and its proof of your expertise, experience, and character that you have been selected to be part of the inaugural Surrey Police Board.

It goes without saying that I have been raring to get to work and that has been ramped up a notch knowing now that I will be working with such a distinguished, talented and diverse group.  In the coming weeks, the City will provide support to prepare the Board for the crucial work to come. Together, we will work to ensure that Surrey Police is accountable, transparent and serves the diverse needs of our citizens, our neighbourhoods, and our city. I know the Board will be as excited as I am to work with our community to confirm that our policing priorities, policies and programs are made in Surrey, for Surrey.

We are at an important crossroads on policing all across North America.

Those of us in leadership positions need to ensure we build policing models and systems that respect the diversity and experiences of our residents.  In Surrey we take that very seriously and we are fortunate that we are in a position to build an innovative, community responsive policing model for our City. The bar we will set for our new police service will be high because our goal is to have Surrey Police be the Centre of Excellence for policing not just in BC but across the country.

The move to Surrey Police was what my team and I campaigned on. We promised that we would deliver if we were given the opportunity and we started making good on that promise from day one. We stand by our pledge and I want to thank the people of Surrey for their support.

Whenever there are significant changes, there is bound to be some opposition. I understand that. For those who have been opposed, I hope you take the time to reflect why this move to a city police service is necessary, and quite frankly, long overdue.

The unique opportunity before us, of building a police service from the ground up, is a chance for all of us to come together and be part of something that will have a lasting and positive legacy for this great City of ours.

On behalf of the Surrey Police Board, I can assure the people of Surrey we are ready to take on this challenge and we are very eager to get started.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards

MEANWHILE, Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards said in a statement:

TODAY the Province of British Columbia and the City of Surrey announced the formation of the Surrey Police Board. This was an expected development, following Minister Farnworth’s announcement in February, and is one of many steps in the creation of a municipal police department in Surrey.

I look forward to hearing the specific details on what the transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force will look like. These details and the timeline will be negotiated by Public Safety Canada and the Surrey Police Board.

The RCMP is a contract service provider in Surrey and, as such, we do not have a role in the decision-making process for this transition. However, we do have a role in this community. We police Surrey with passion, skill and experience, and we have many strong partnerships here that have been developed over many decades. We will continue to police Surrey with pride for as long as we are contracted to do so.

I thank the community for their outstanding and continuing support.