A major reason why the City of Surrey chose to set up its own police force was to have local control, with the argument being that Surrey Mounties gets their marching orders from Ottawa.
But Surrey mayoral candidate Brenda Locke says the policing transition as is swaps out control from Ottawa for control from Victoria, as the Surrey Police Board members are appointed by the provincial government.
“I would say absolutely we are. One of the things we are going to do, we’re going to have a public safety board made of citizens, and I’ve talked to the RCMP about this,” Locke told the Now-Leader. “Nothing has transitioned. These guys can’t get past go.”
“The public were incredibly offended when the mayor stopped the public safety committee,” Locke said. “Whether they were on it or not, at least they could see that there was an avenue to have access not just to the policing issues in Surrey but fire and bylaws. There is no way for the public to see anything that’s going on there now and that’s not right. The public should have input into it, and I think the city of Surrey’s public should have input into it, not the Province of British Columbia, and certainly not Ottawa. So, we are going to establish a public safety committee. We’re already on track for that.”
Mayor Doug McCallum declined to comment.
Melissa Granum, executive director of the Surrey Police Board, noted that while it’s true the board appointments are made by the provincial government, “they’re also independent of government.
“So once they’re appointed they aren’t accountable to the Province, they are accountable to the citizens of Surrey, and that’s the way they take their role. By virtue of the fact that there is an independent civilian police board, that’s a structure of policing for the city that will only benefit the city into the future.”
While the provincial government does have oversight of policing in B.C., she said, it delegates that oversight to local police boards.
“Like I said, they’re independent of the Province, they don’t report to the Province, they don’t answer to the Province – they answer to the citizens.”
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter