June 24th, 2024

Court backs transition to municipal police force in Surrey, B.C.

By The Canadian Press on May 23, 2024.

British Columbia's Public Safety Minister says the B.C. Supreme Court has quashed a court bid by the City of Surrey to halt a transition to a municipal police force. A Surrey Police crest is seen on the side of one of the force's vehicles in Surrey, B.C., on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s public safety minister says the B.C. Supreme Court has quashed a bid by the City of Surrey to halt a transition to a municipal police force.

Mike Farnworth says the dispute is over, and it’s time to come together and complete the switch from the RCMP to the Surrey Police Service.

Farnworth, who is also B.C.’s solicitor general, says he hopes Surrey officials including Mayor Brenda Locke will work with the province and RCMP to complete the transition as smoothly and quickly as possible following the court’s decision.

He says the municipal force is set to become Surrey’s police of jurisdiction on Nov. 29, and the province has set aside $150 million to assist with the transition.

Farnworth says he hadn’t yet spoken with Locke, who was elected in 2022 after campaigning on the promise of halting the transition and keeping the Mounties.

He says he expects the city will review the court ruling, but “the bottom line” is that the transition is happening and it would be in the city’s interest to get on board.

“I think what’s important is the people of Surrey want this over, and this decision certainly indicates that, you know what, it’s over,” he told a press conference in Vancouver on Thursday.

“The transition will continue to the Surrey Police Service and… the city, (it) would be great if they were at the table, and I think that’s what the residents of Surrey would expect from the council.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2024.

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