The man in charge of a joint provincial-city committee tasked with overseeing Surrey’s transition from the RCMP to its own police force says Mayor Doug McCallum is incorrect in his claim that the work will be finished by Dec. 11 and ready for Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth’s perusal.
“We’ve been working very hard, we’ve been working with the minister over the last five or six days,” McCallum told reporters in a scrum Monday night. “The general consensus over there is that they need to speed up the process. They’ve given us the green light to have our police, the committee’s work will be finished on Dec. 11. I understand the committee is working very well on both sides and generally, they probably will all agree and sign off on the report that they’re going to be, with agreement from all sides. That report should be done and handed to the minister around Dec. 11.
Wally Oppal, a former B.C. attorney general and Supreme Court Justice, was appointed chairman of the committee after the NDP government gave the City of Surrey approval to establish its own police force in August.
Asked Thursday afternoon if McCallum’s timeline is correct, Oppal replied with a blunt “no.”
“No. No, we’re still – this is a very complex area, this whole idea of establishing a police force and it’s got to be done properly,” he explained. “So, we’ve had very productive meetings, and so we’re making good progress but we can’t circumvent the time period and we can’t compromise quality in order to get the report done before then. We don’t even have a meeting set until next week, actually.”
The Now-Leader has reached out to McCallum for comment.
– with a file by Amy Reid.