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Surrey police force right move, expert says, but mayor not communicating that properly

Last Updated Dec 17, 2019 at 11:05 am PDT

FILE - A Surrey Police cruiser sits outside the Cloverdale Recreation Centre during the first open house about creating an independent police force in Surrey. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Surrey's police force is the right move, a former solicitor general says, but mayor isn't getting that message across

Kash Heed says Mayor Doug McCallum isn't properly explaining how the change will make the city safer

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A former solicitor general says creating a new municipal police force in Surrey is the right move – but the mayor is not communicating that message properly to the community.

On Monday night, Surrey city council approved a budget which earmarks $129-million for the transition, and former solicitor general Kash Heed says he backs the decision to scrap the Surrey RCMP.

He believes a new force will improve local policing accountability, but is concerned Mayor Doug McCallum isn’t properly explaining exactly how the change will make the city safer.

RELATED: ‘A real shame for the city’: Chaos erupts as Surrey council passes contentious budget without debate

“The research certainly supports transitioning – all that work has been done,” he says. “But the political, chaotic environment that’s been created as a result of this and the lack of communication is troubling.”

Heed, who is also a former police chief, says the mayor’s approach has caused unnecessary problems.

“The chaotic environment that has been created because of a lack of an effective and efficient communication plan is going to create doubt within the minds of the people that are going to be directly affected in Surrey,” he says, adding people need to know why the new force is needed and exactly how the city plans to go about creating it.

“If – and I hope it doesn’t – this whole transition gets sidetracked and put aside, it will be the result of politics versus what is the best thing for the people in Surrey,” Heed says.