Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke wants council to rethink the policing transition process.
This Monday (Dec. 16), Locke will be bringing forward a motion for council to reconsider the transition.
Monday’s motion recommends that council “conduct a third-party feasibility study that is open and transparent to the public and council,” then following the study, direct staff to “canvas citizens in a reputable manner” to determine whether to continue with the municipal force.
Locke’s motion also includes making all previous consultation materials about the policing transition publicly available.
The Now-Leader has asked the City of Surrey for the consultation materials, as well as submitted a Freedom of Information Request.
Locke made the notice of motion to stop the transition at the Dec. 2 meeting.
During the Dec. 2 meeting, Locke said the motion made on Nov. 5, 2018 to move to a local police force “was conducted in a manner that was neither transparent, fair or genuine.”
Council passed the motion to “immediately create a Surrey police department,” just minutes after taking the Oath of Office on Nov. 5, 2018. Councillors Locke, Steven Pettigrew, Jack Hundial and lone Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis all voted in favour of the motion.
Since then, the four have begun to speak out about the move to a municipal police force.
Locke also said on Dec. 2 that the city’s consultation process was “seriously flawed” in terms of gauging public support in the transition and “none of the partners of the report, including city staff, mayor and council, and especially the VPD, who authored the majority of the report, have defended their input or the report itself.”
Locke highlighted how the public safety committee was cancelled, and no other form of input for all of council was established.
“The police transition has completely and negatively impacted the future of this city in terms of our budget for infrastructure and especially public safety including our fire service,” she said. “Whereas the uncertainty of this plan will lead to significant increases in taxes for residents perhaps as high as 45 per cent on policing costs alone.
“I cannot stand for this folly of a police transition plan especially given the cost to the children, families and our community. There is no question to me that this poorly thought out and rushed plan will put Surrey’s children, families and those who are vulnerable, in fact all citizens, at risk.”
– with files from Amy Reid