In less than a day, a petition to keep the Surrey RCMP has hit its first goal.
Started late Friday (Nov. 9) by “W & B Mulligan & Asher,” the petition was initially looking for 200 signatures. By midday Saturday, the petition had reached 200 signatures and now has a goal of 1,000 which keeps growing.
By 2 p.m. Sunday, the petition had 781 supporters with dozens of people voicing their support for the Surrey RCMP and why the city shouldn’t move to a municipal force.
The petition is directed at B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. It “respectfully” requests the minister “not endorse the current Mayor and Council’s intention to terminate the RCMP contract in policing in this city.”
Following Surrey city council’s inauguration, council unanimously voted to pull out of the RCMP contract.
The petitioners say they “believe that the RCMP have previously done, and continue to do, everything any police agency could reasonably expect to combat the current gang activity.”
“It is naive to think a different police force would have the ability to deter gang violence, and pointing the blame at the RCMP is akin to wilful blindness.”
On Friday, the same day the petition was created, there was a fatal shooting in Newton. Several hours after the shooting, Mayor Doug McCallum said the “latest incident of deadly gun violence further emphasizes the need for the City of Surrey to have its own city police force.”
The BC RCMP’s Deputy Commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr responded, saying McCallum’s statements “risk undermining public trust and confidence in policing.”
In McCallum’s statement about Friday’s shooting, he also said he was encountering “resistance” at the provincial level and called for the premier to “remove any roadblocks.”
Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, said the premier and the province is working with the City of Surrey as the city develops a plan to create its own police force.
Farnworth also said a new police for “isn’t created over the weekend,” adding the province is committed to working with the city as they move forward.