Surrey’s new police challenge just another delay tactic: Farnworth
Posted November 20, 2023 4:27 pm.
The back and forth over the Surrey police transition continues, with the solicitor general calling the city’s latest legal challenge just another delay tactic.
Mike Farnworth says dragging the transition out is simply a “waste of money and a waste of time.”
“There are hundreds of men and women right now on the ground in Surrey who are dedicated police officers. For the mayor of Surrey to denigrate that by trying to take some cheap political shot I think is disrespectful to those men and women who put their life on the line every single day to protect the citizens of Surrey — whether they’re Surrey Police Service members or whether they’re RCMP,” Farnworth said Monday.
“I just think it’s incredibly disrespectful. We have men and women who do a very difficult job. We’ve had tragedies this year involving police officers, funerals. And so, for the mayor to say it’s an NDP police service, quite frankly, I think it’s a disgrace.”
Mayor Brenda Locke announced Monday morning that Surrey was launching a new legal challenge to “stop the NDP police service.”
She said the additional petition being filed in court would “outline where we are moving to,” and that the move is a “significant step” to stop the policing transition and stop the provincial government’s “attempted police takeover which would require double-digit NDP tax hike on Surrey taxpayers.”
“We are challenging the constitutionality of the province’s latest legislation. Surrey voters deserve to have their voices heard,” Locke said.
However, Farnworth doubled down Monday afternoon, saying the decision about the police transition in the city has been made.
“The future of policing in Surrey is the Surrey Police Service. We have been working very closely with the RCMP, with the federal government. Staff have held a number of trilateral meetings. The decision has been made, it was made several months ago, it has been confirmed in legislation,” he said.
Locke has claimed Surrey residents could be looking at a 20 per cent tax increase if the transition to the civic Surrey Police Service continues. However, Farnworth is questioning the figures Locke has put forward with regard to the transition.
“Again, we have seen numbers floated around by the mayor that vary all over the place. The reality is this: we put $150 million on the table and that was based on numbers supplied by the City of Surrey on the difference between the RCMP and the Surrey Police Service. We had that vetted by Deloitte and what needs to happen now is for that transition to continue,” he said.
Last week, the B.C. government suspended the Surrey Police Board and appointed an administrator to help move the transition along. Farnworth says the administrator, former Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr, will submit a budget to the city by Nov. 30.