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Surrey Police Board hosting first public meeting Thursday

Last Updated Aug 6, 2020 at 7:57 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)

Next steps are coming as Surrey's new police force gets ready to take over from the RCMP

The police board will have its first meeting on Thursday via Zoom, and it will be livestreamed

Some residents and city councillors say the transition is moving too fast and costs too much

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Surrey’s new police department will have its first public board meeting virtually Thursday.

Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke says she predicts “there’ll be a lot of eyes” on the board. She says expectations are high as the meeting will be underway despite pushback from some residents and council members.

“There’s no question that overwhelmingly the city of Surrey does not want this. This is Mayor [Doug] McCallum’s wish and dream,” she says.

Those opposing the police transition have recently said that the shift is not a priority, as the city grapples with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The police board will become very well aware of the anger and the animosity towards this action,” Locke says.

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She tells NEWS 1130 she hopes the police board will take a closer look at the decision to scrap the RCMP for a municipal force, and address issues like the rising financial cost associated with the transition.

“Hope is, they’re going to actually ask to do a proper feasibility study of this whole process because certainly, the transparency has not existed.”

The meeting is happening after the B.C. government gave the municipal force the green light. Locke says she hopes the province will be watching.

“Certainly, I think the provincial government should be paying attention to this because this city is very upset with the provincial government around the police transition and how they feel they’ve let us down.”

The nine-member board includes Mayor Doug McCallum, and will be responsible for hiring a chief constable as well as approving the force’s budget.

“Surrey’s citizens, business owners and visitors deserve the robust, local civilian oversight of the new Surrey Police Service,” McCallum said in a release. “The SPS [Surrey Police Service] will be built as an innovative, modern and proactive service tailored to the needs and concerns of Surrey residents. I am thrilled we are at this pivotal moment in our city’s history.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the police board meeting will live-streamed at 10 a.m. for public viewing.