WAKE Up Surrey on Monday strongly condemned the BC Liberal Party’s “opportunistic statement to pause the policing transition in our city and hold a possible future referendum.”
Founding member Gurpreet Sahota pointed out: “Since June 2018, our working group has participated in over 130 meetings with various stakeholders including members of the BC Liberal Party and their leader. It is outrageous during the midst of a provincial election to announce such a statement, simply to divide our residents further for political reasons.”
For the past two years, Wake Up Surrey has attempted to engage with all levels of government, community stakeholders and residents on the need for a comprehensive strategic plan to help address the increasing gang violence and youth crime in our city, he noted.
Working team member Sarbjit Sandhu added: “In addition to improving our community policing model, this is a multi-faceted social problem which requires parents to be further engaged with our vulnerable youth, the need for further investment in mental health, greater focus at the school district level regarding early assessment of at risk youth, more targeted prevention and intervention funding, improving the delays in the judicial system as many gang related cases are dismissed, introduction of a community court in our region, improving our civil forfeiture laws and most of all, having all stakeholders working together under one strategic plan.”
Sahota said that since November 2018, Wake Up Surrey has been closely monitoring the proceedings regarding the transition to the Surrey Police Department. He said: “Under the stewardship of former Attorney General Wally Oppal, this has been a very complex and rigorous process, while sometimes divisive also. We understand the concerns of citizens for greater transparency and teamwork from all stakeholders involved. We are hopeful the implementation of the Surrey Police Board will help alleviate the dysfunction and help build citizen trust in our new policing model which is for the long-term benefit of our city and its residents.”
Wake Up Surrey said it is most concerned by the divisive nature of the BC Liberal Party statement on Sunday regarding the policing transition. Group spokesperson Sukhi Sandhu said: “This attempt by Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson to re-pivot his election campaign by making the Surrey policing transition a focal point, is simply a desperate attempt to hold onto Liberal seats in Cloverdale and South Surrey. As a former Attorney General, he knows his comments are irresponsible and reckless, serve no purpose but to somehow improve his declining polling numbers. For over two years, Andrew Wilkinson has been silent on the increasing gang violence in our city and conveniently neutral regarding the Surrey Policing transition debate. It is this type of opportunistic behavior, which leads to further distrust of politicians amongst voters. It is simply disingenuous during the midst of a provincial election to make this type of divisive false promise to the voters.”
Wake Up Surrey said it encourages each of the provincial parties to provide their crime reduction and anti gang strategy.