Surrey city council cast an historic vote Monday night on the next course of action for Surrey’s embattled policing transition. On a 5-4 vote, council decided to maintain the Surrey RCMP as this city’s police of jurisdiction instead of forging ahead with the Surrey Police Service.
City staff will now prepare a plan for Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth’s approval to that end, as well as issue a letter on council’s behalf to the Surrey Police Board “to pause all new hiring and expenditures pending further Council direction.”
Mayor Brenda Locke and her Surrey Connect five-member majority campaigned on keeping the RCMP.
She and councillors Harry Bains, Rob Stutt, Pardeep Kooner and Gordon Hepner voted in favour, while Safe Surrey Coalition councillors Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra voted against keeping the RCMP as did Surrey First councillors Mike Bose and Linda Annis.
Surrey First issued a press release Monday calling for a referendum on the issue, in which Annis said, “The nine of us elected to council on October 15 should not be making this final decision.”
Annis wrote a letter to Farnworth urging him to call on the City of Surrey to hold a public referendum on the policing question, arguing that “this costly back-and-forth will remain a political football unless the voters of Surrey are finally allowed to decide this issue.” She tried to have the motion amended toward staging a referendum, but it was defeated.