Surrey mayoral hopeful will pull the plug on police transition if elected

It’s too late to stop Surrey’s police transition, according to the chief of the Surrey Police Service.

A current councillor, and candidate for mayor, promises it will be the first thing she does if elected.

“We can’t afford to waste any more money on this failed experiment,” says City Councillor Brenda Locke, who is running for mayor in October.

If Locke wins, she will also become the chair of the Surrey Police Board.

She acknowledges money has already been spent on the new Surrey Police Service, but believes it’s still worth it to pull the plug.

“The financial impact of carrying on is going to be much, much worse for the residents of Surrey, than us stopping it.”

Surrey Police Service Chief Norm Lipinski disagrees, and says at this point there is no turning back.

“I can tell you it’s way, way too far down the road financially to unring the bell,” says Lipinski.

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Lipinski says 120 officers with SPS will be working alongside Surrey RCMP this month, responding to calls.

“What happens with their wages? What happens with their jobs? We have a union. We’ve invested millions in IT infrastructure, etcetera.”

Unlike Locke, City Councillor Linda Annis believes the best approach is to dedicate more effort to decide.

“Once the election occurs, we need to take a pause, gather the facts, figure out what the plan is going to look like, how much it’s going to cost, and then once and for all, make a final decision about this transition,” says Annis.

“There’s an awful lot of uncertainty about the transition.”

Annis isn’t ruling out a run for mayor, but says she has no announcement at this time. Regardless, Annis is planning to run for City Council.

Civic elections in BC will be held on Saturday, October 15.

According to a city statement, Surrey is  “transferring policing in Surrey from a contracted service delivery model to operation of an independent municipal police service.”

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