Police investigate a fatal shooting at a gas station in Clayton. (Now-Leader photo)

Former Surrey mayor calls on province to intervene in Surrey policing ‘crisis’

Bob Bose says solicitor general needs to step in ‘before things get even worse’

Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose is calling on Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to intervene in the city’s police staffing level situation now that city council has approved its 2020 budget containing a hiring freeze on police and firefighters, saying it’s a “crisis issue in terms of accountability.”

“The increase in staff has been frozen for at least two budget cycles,” Bose noted. “People who know about these things have estimated Surrey’s shortfall is somewhere between 200 and 300 officers as we stand.

“The provincial review is ongoing; there was nothing to be addressed in the 2020 budget until the budget was passed, and it has been passed, ostensibly,” said Bose, who was Surrey’s mayor from 1988 until 1996.

“Now it is clearly time for Mike Farnworth, the solicitor general, to intervene before things get even worse by ordering the city to provide the services that are clearly needed.”

homelessphoto

Former Surrey mayor Bob Bose. (File photo)

READ ALSO: Former Surrey mayors speak out against ‘disgraceful’ council meeting

While Surrey has set a hiring freeze in place, Vancouver city council has decided to hire 25 new police officers in the new year, in a budget that includes a seven per cent hike in property taxes. Thirty more firefighters will also be hired.

Moreover, the Langley RCMP is asking the Township to hire 15 more Mounties.

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman said Farnworth refused to intervene in Surrey’s policing situation, after the board asked him to investigate if this city has an adequate level of policing.

“I’ve read the Police Act, and in particular that section which gives the solicitor general the authority to order proper levels of service for public safety,” Bose said.

“Not only has he the authority to do it, he in fact – and I emphasize this – has a responsibility to do it.”

homelessphoto

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth (Black Press Media)

Meantime Ivan Scott, the founder of the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign, notes Farnworth has waded into the City of Victoria’s dispute between its city council and police department over the hiring of more officers.

Surrey’s population exceeds Victoria’s by roughly 230,000, Scott said, “and yet Minster Farnworth clearly feels very comfortable ordering the City of Victoria to hire more police officers whilst at the same time ignoring many similar requests that the City of Surrey do the same for our community, as we believe that he is obliged to do under the BC Police Act.

“This,” Scott said, “indicates to us of one rule by the Solicitor General for the Capital City of Victoria and the polar opposite one for our very substantially more populated City of Surrey.”

READ ALSO: Langley RCMP ask for $2.4 million for 15 new officers

Scott is also calling on Surrey’s NDP MLA to uphold the Surrey Accord, “something that they campaigned on and they haven’t stuck by it and we’re calling them to task on this sort of thing.

“Basically it says that they will look after the City of Surrey and make sure that they have all the policing resources,” Scott said of the Accord, “and they haven’t complied with that.”

homelessphoto

Ivan Scott. (Submitted photo)

Surrey RCMP’s outgoing officer in charge, Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, recently warned that Surrey council’s decision not to hire more police officers for 2020 – and for the second year in a row – will have a “detrimental effect” on policing, “on the health and wellness of our members and municipal support staff,” and will force the detachment to review its policing service.

READ ALSO: Surrey’s top cop slams city’s budget

This appeared to fly in the face of what Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum told reporters one day before, that “both our police chief and our fire chief have indicated that with this level, they can maintain the safety of our community.”

During a press conference on Dec. 12, to introduce Surrey RCMP’s incoming boss, Chief Superintended Brian Edwards, McDonald said that “my recall of that conversation is that we would do our utmost to maintain community and public safety.

“But I stand by the comments that I made previously that without sufficient resources to combat all the emerging issues in this city – the growing population and the complexities of policing a developing city – at some point tough choices have to be made and that could have an impact on the public safety initiatives or service delivery models moving forward,” McDonald said.

homelessphoto

Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

McDonald noted that “you can only do so much with the resources that you’re given.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

Preliminary results indicate a Surrey-Cloverdale win for the NDP’s Mike Starchuk. (File)
Mike Starchuk leading Marvin Hunt in Surrey Cloverdale

MAP: B.C. provincial election results for Surrey-Cloverdale

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Most Read