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Decision on policing in Surrey coming Friday

A decision was promised by the end of April
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth addresses the media at the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Jan. 26, 2021. Government of B.C.

The future of Surrey policing will be unveiled by the British Columbia government after a delay. 

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth will give his decision on whether or not Surrey will return to the RCMP or stay with the Surrey Police Service (SPS) transition on April 28, a ministry spokesperson confirmed with Glacier Media.

A decision was set to be delivered from the provincial government earlier in 2023, but Farnworth announced it was delayed in January

That delay was due to the director of police services determining that additional information was required. 

The City of Surrey has been in the process of transitioning from Surrey RCMP to SPS. The municipal force was a campaign promise of former mayor Doug McCallum when he got elected in 2018.

A change in council following last October’s election ushered in new political direction, from Mayor Brenda Locke.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General confirmed the decision would be made by the end of April. 

"The stability of policing is a provincial responsibility, and public safety in the City of Surrey and throughout British Columbia continues to be government’s core driving principle,” stated the spokesperson. 

Surrey's municipal police chief called for an independent audit of the city's cost estimates related to a policing transition on Monday, saying he's concerned they've been "inflated and mischaracterized" to target the fledgling force.

Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge Brian Edwards says Surrey RCMP is currently fully staffed, with approximately 186 SPS officers deployed alongside RCMP officers.

"Public safety has been our primary focus throughout the transition and remains our top priority. RCMP and SPS officers continue to work side by side, responding to calls and serving the community," says Edwards, adding violent crime decreased in 2022 and is down 14 per cent in 2023, so far.

"Claims to the contrary is a blatant attempt to generate public fear, and disrespectful to all those impacted by the incidents, the judicial processes underway, and all officers working in Surrey," he says. 

With files from Canadian Press