'Difficult' Surrey, B.C., police decision on RCMP or municipal force Friday: minister
VICTORIA — British Columbia Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says Surrey residents will know Friday who will police the Metro Vancouver city: the RCMP or a municipal police service.
The government is set to announce its decision on the future of policing in the city, Farnworth said Thursday.
Surrey was well into the process of switching away from RCMP to the independent Surrey Police Service when voters elected a mayor who opposed the change.
The indecision has cost Surrey taxpayers many millions of dollars, but Mayor Brenda Locke said the transition back to RCMP will be less expensive than the change to the police service.
The provincial government had already approved the move to the municipal police force and now the mayor and council want it to agree to the reversal.
Farnworth said it has been one of the toughest decisions his government has had to make.
"It is a very, very complicated issue and there has been a significant amount of work that has gone into it, and I'll be making the decision tomorrow," Farnworth said in the legislature on Thursday.
The key issue in the government's decision is public safety for Surrey and the province, said Farnworth.
The minister said earlier that he has concerns about RCMP staffing levels in the province and the call for reforms for Mounties contained in the recent inquiry into the Nova Scotia mass shooting.
BC United Leader Kevin Falcon said he wouldn't be able to make a decision on which police force to support because the government hasn't provided enough data that it collected about the pros and cons of the two law enforcement options.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2023.
The Canadian Press