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Statement from Mayor Doug McCallum - Day One of Surrey Police Department Announcement

mayor speaking at podium

February 27, 2020

Today is Day One of our Surrey Police Department.

I want to thank you all for taking the time to be here this morning. For the members of the press, I will be happy to take questions from you but I want to begin by saying a few words to address why we are here and also take the opportunity to acknowledge the work of the individuals and teams that have made today happen.

Surrey is a city that is pushing close to 600,000 people and we are the only major city in the country without a city police department and the time has come for Surrey to have a police force of its own, where accountability begins and stays within our city, residents and business owners. The time has arrived, and some would say it’s been long overdue, for Surrey to have local control and responsibility of its policing.

Today I am here to announce that in just over one year we moved from a unanimous council motion to full reality on our promise to the citizens of Surrey. Far quicker than even I thought possible, we have received the final approval required to establish the Surrey Police Board. This is the final step – the guarantee that we will now have our Surrey Police Department.

Starting shortly citizens and business owners in Surrey can soon apply to be members of the Surrey Police Board through the Province’s online board selection process. Our staff will work with the Province to make sure the inaugural Surrey Police Board is comprised of our most qualified citizens.

I want to take a moment to thank the people for their contributions and work that has brought us to today.

First, my thanks to Minister Farnworth for his prompt consideration and action on this file. As the top cop in the province, his to-do list is never-ending. I want to acknowledge and thank him for the priority he has given to this matter. It would also be incumbent on me to thank his staff for their prompt attention on Surrey Policing. For large organizations to succeed, and this especially applies to government, there needs to be good leadership at the top. Mr. Premier my sincere thanks to you for your leadership, support and can-do attitude not just on Surrey Policing, but on other critical matters that impact this city such as SkyTrain, a new Hospital and the long overdue replacement of the Pattullo Bridge.

I also want to acknowledge the Federal Government for their support and assistance during this process to a Surrey Police Department.

To the members of the Surrey Transition Committee, chaired by the Honourable Wally Oppal, your report was extensive and comprehensive. Today’s approval is proof of the high quality of work that you have done and what you have accomplished.

I also want to thank Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer and his team for the invaluable assistance and insight provided during our transition process.

To the men and women of the RCMP, I want to sincerely thank you for the work you have done for Surrey and the work you continue to do for this city. Surrey Police and the RCMP will be working in close collaboration to ensure public safety is maintained as we move to full operation status of our city police.

I want to take a moment to thank Councillors Elford, Guerra, Nagra and Patton, who have stood by this promise that we made on the campaign trail. I want to commend you for your integrity, for staying true to your word and for staying true to the people who cast a ballot for you.

Finally, I want to thank our Senior Management Team at the City, and in particular Terry Waterhouse, our GM of Policing Transition. Terry, you and your team have laboured hard to bring us to this moment and I want to thank you and your team for your tireless efforts. I also want to thank all of our city staff for the work they have done on this front. I want you to know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The citizens of Surrey elected this Council to build a strong Surrey for tomorrow. You told us that the cornerstone of that was the creation of our own city police department. This Council pledged to make that a reality and we have made good on that promise to you.

Today marks Day One of our new Surrey Police Department.

Doug McCallum
Mayor
City of Surrey

Media inquiries:

Oliver Lum
Communications Manager
Office of the Mayor
City of Surrey
604-591-4519
owlum@surrey.ca