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Letter: Surrey police 'fiasco' hurts all of Metro Vancouver

Decision around the Surrey Police Service has ramifications in Burnaby, Vancouver and beyond.
A delay in deciding the future of the Surrey Police Service transition impacts communities across Metro Vancouver, this criminologist writes.


Re: Surrey police transition decision delayed by B.C. government

Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth’s announcement that more information is needed to “inform further consideration” of whether Surrey should maintain the RCMP as its municipal police force or continue with the transition to the Surrey Police Service raises some questions (as well as eyebrows).

In making the announcement Farnworth added that he can’t make the decision without “a full and in-depth analysis.” Well, how and why was this entire exercise started, costing hundreds of millions of public dollars, without “a full and in-depth analysis”? That should have occurred years ago, before the transition began.

Meanwhile, the Surrey Police Service will keep hiring, ensuring even more public funding is consumed before they are possibly shown the door. Only three days before the Farnworth non-decision, it was announced that SPS had deployed another 18 officers. If the government cannot tell at this point if they should exist for sure, their hiring and deployment should be frozen.

Sadly, this fiasco has had, and will now continue to have, impacts beyond Surrey. Not only in terms of costs. The eventual decision will potentially impact policing in communities across Metro Vancouver, with officers moving from either force in Surrey to Burnaby, Vancouver, or elsewhere.

Dr. Jeff Shantz, Department of Criminology
Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey