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More input needed on Surrey police force: Surrey Board of Trade

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Surrey Board of Trade says there needs to be more public consultation of creating a municipal police force in Surrey

CEO Anita Huberman says there are too many unresolved questions

The BOT will host a discussion panel Jan. 29

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — As Surrey continues to push on with its plans to scrap the RCMP, the CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade says it’s a bad idea that needs more public input.

The BOT wants the RCMP to remain in the city, a stance the group hasn’t backed away from. The transition from one type of police force to another will be top of mind as the Surrey Board of Trade hosts a dialogue series on the topic this month.

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, says when it comes to ditching the RCMP for a municipal police force, there are just too many unanswered questions. The cost of transition, what training officers will be required to have, and being able to employ enough officers for the large city are just some of the issues she brings up.

She questions whether a different police force will really impact criminal activity in Surrey.

“Crime is actually down in Surrey. There is no evidence that gang activity will decrease with a municipal police force,” she says.

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Following the city’s hiring freeze of new RCMP officers, she says this could also be an issue in the city’s transition time, particularly as the population of Surrey continues to go up.

“We still need to ensure public safety mechanisms. We need to have officers on the ground. We need to have those additional officers,” she says.

Another issue, she says, is the amount of public consultation on the topic.

“The transition to a municipal police force was made with limited public engagement,” she says.

The BOT hopes the dialogue series will be an opportunity for people to talk about it, ask questions and learn the benefits and concerns over scrapping the Mountains or keeping them in Surrey.

Retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner Fraser McRae, as well as Kash Heed, former solicitor general and public safety minister, will be part of the discussion panel.

The event runs from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 29 at 13475 Central Avenue, Surrey.