Surrey Police Board’s acting chairwoman Cheney Cloke says the board is “100 per cent commited” to continuing its mandate to “build a modern, responsive and progressive police service” despite Mayor-elect Brenda Locke’s resolve to halt the Surrey Police Service in its tracks and retain the RCMP as Surrey’s police of jurisdiction.
“Our community deserves that,” Cloke said in her opening remarks immediately after being appointed its acting chairwoman during the board’s meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 27.
“The mayor-elect has communicated her position on the issue of a policing transition which does not align with the provincial mandate of this board,” Cloke said. “The board has been transparent about our finances during our monthly meetings and we will be providing mayor and council with a clear accounting of the transition to date and overview of our progress and the benefits of an independent police service.
“We hope that between our discussions with the mayor elect and council, and a final decision by the provincial government, that there will be a timely resolution to this matter, to continue to move SPS forward. The board believes that SPS is the best public safety decision for the future of Surrey as our vibrant city continues to grow.”
Other than that, the board and chief constable continued their business all steam ahead despite the Damocles sword hovering over the policing transition process following Locke’s election win.
The board’s next meeting is set for Nov. 30. Cloke was appointed acting chairwoman pursuant to Section 25 (2) of the Police Act, which states the board members must elect a chairperson “if the mayor is absent or unable to act.” Former mayor Doug McCallum filled that position before “temporarily” bowing out in June.
Locke defeated him for the mayor’s seat in the Oct. 15 election by 973 votes, with 33,311 votes to McCallum’s 32,338.
Meantime, the Surrey Police Board issued a statement on Oct. 17 concerning the status of Surrey Police Service’s senior command staff.
“The Mayor-elect indicated throughout the municipal election campaign that she would reverse the policing transition from the RCMP to Surrey Police Service (SPS). In her post-election comments to media, she has subsequently suggested an intention to remove SPS senior command staff,” the statement reads.
“It is important to note that the Surrey Police Board (the Board) is the legal employer of all employees of SPS, including senior command staff. Any decision regarding the status of the senior command staff would be a decision of the Board. The Board has full confidence in the Chief and other senior administrators who have been instrumental in building all aspects of SPS to meet or exceed the BC Provincial Policing Standards required to become police of jurisdiction.”