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Surrey councillor wants police transition scrapped due to coronavirus crisis

Last Updated May 4, 2020 at 6:19 pm PDT

FILE - Surrey city councillor Linda Annis at the Jan. 27 council meeting. Tarnjit Parmar, NEWS 1130 photo.

Coun. Linda Annis says the $129-million plan should not be a priority right now

She is asking the mayor and the province to 'pause' the switch to a city police force

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — One city councillor is calling on Surrey to stop the transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coun. Linda Annis says the $192-million plan should not be a priority right now.

“During this crisis, we need to be focusing in on what we can do as a city to help our residents through this very, very troubling time,” she says.

“People are losing their jobs, they’re not sure how they’re going to make their mortgage payments, they’re wondering how they’re going to support their families. We need to be focusing on them and on the businesses in our communities that are closing.”

Annis says in light of unemployment–including the city itself laying off 2,000 workers–and amid reports that revenues for businesses are down as much as 75 per cent, fiscal priorities lie elsewhere.

“I’m hoping that the mayor and the provincial government will put a pause on this,” she says.

Annis wants the city to focus on programming to help people cope amid the crisis and on planning for economic recovery.

She also says support needs to be shown to first repsonders, including the Mounties.

“It’s very, very important that we support the RCMP and the firefighters and the healthcare professionals that are keeping us safe. They’re putting their lives and their families lives at risk doing what they’re doing right now and we need to give them a big shout out.”