Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, left and former attorney general Wally Oppal. (Now-Leader file photos)

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, left and former attorney general Wally Oppal. (Now-Leader file photos)

Surrey Policing Transition committee report forwarded to Wally Oppal

Oppal tells Now-Leader it will take him about a month to determine if it ‘passes muster’

Wally Oppal says it will take him about a month to review the report of the joint provincial-city committee that has been tasked with overseeing Surrey’s transition from the RCMP to a city police force “to see if it passes muster.”

“I haven’t seen it,” he told the Now-Leader on Monday, “but it’s up to me to review it all to see whether or not I think it passes muster. I’m really impressed by the work they’ve done, but I haven’t seen it. There’s no doubt that I’m going to have to go through all of it – it’s quite a few hundred pages, 350 or 400 pages – so I’ll probably work on it during the holidays. Ultimately it’s up to me to decide whether or not it meets the standard to send over to Victoria.”

The City of Surrey issued a press release late Monday afternoon stating that the transition process has taken a significant step forward with the provincial/municipal policing transition study committee on Monday forwarding its report to former B.C. Supreme Court judge Wally Oppal, who is in charge of overseeing the plan.

“I am very pleased that the members of the committee achieved consensus on the report,” Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum stated in the press release. “They have done a superb job. I very much appreciate the cooperation of the RCMP and other stakeholders in completing a very comprehensive report. All next steps on the transition will be the responsibility of the Surrey Police Board.”

Asked what McCallum’s last comment means, Oppal replied “I don’t know what that means. First of all there is no Surrey Police Board and I don’t know why they put out these things.

“There’s no Surrey Police Board, they’re getting way ahead of themselves. When I look at the report, and I’ve looked at it, and I eventually send it on to the director of policing – that’s Brenda Butterworth-Carr – she will then look at it to see whether or not it meets the appropriate standards. She will then send that off to the minister, the solicitor general, and he will then decide whether or not Surrey has met the next step in the process. After that, if it does, the provincial government will then have to take steps to establish a police board and the police board will then advertise for a police chief. So we’re still quite a ways away from it all.”

Meantime, Surrey-Cloverdale Liberal MLA Marvin Hunt suspects the NDP provincial government acted too hastily in giving the green light to the Safe Surrey Coalition’s plan to transition from the Surrey RCMP to a made-in-the-city police force.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, gave the city the go-ahead on Aug. 22 to established a Surrey police force.

“I was kind-of surprised at how quickly Farnworth responded to council’s desire to change police forces with a plan that, to me, had a lot of holes in it,” Hunt told the Now-Leader.

READ ALSO: Province approves Surrey’s plan to establish municipal police force

“I sort of expected there to be a volleying back and forth that the provincial government, Farnworth, of course, would have said, ‘Well, interesting, but here’s some deficiencies in your plans, work on these,’ and sort of a volley back and forth that would also tend to clarify the reality of what we’re seeing today, which is that there wouldn’t be any increase in police members, that you would in fact have challenges with the budget,” Hunt said. “Because the budget that (Mayor) Doug (McCallum) talked about during the election, I’m not sure how realistic that is and now that we’re actually doing the plan, that information needs to be out there.

“So,” Hunt said, “I’ve been kind of surprised at how Farnworth has not pushed back on it for more information.

“He’s involved in the Surrey situation whether he likes it or not, because he gave it the green light. Therefore, if you’re going to work with the City of Surrey on this, then work with the City of Surrey and walk through this thing until the transition’s finished, don’t ‘Oh sure, great idea, and wipe my hands of it’ because that doesn’t work for the security of citizens in any community. The NDP are involved because they are a part of working this transition before they got all the information that they needed to make sure the transition was going to work properly.”

READ ALSO: Oppal says Surrey mayor wrong about policing transition timeline



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey’s Kevin McAlpin is hoping to reunite this 50-year-old wedding ring with its rightful owner. (Contributed photo)
Owner of 50-year-old wedding band found near Peace Arch Park sought

Recovered ring ‘is important to somebody,’ says finder

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council earmarks $1.8M in grants for community groups

Councillor Laurie Guerra says it’s ‘essential’ given damage done by pandemic

Screen shot from the SOS Children’s Village BC webpage for their “Big Hearts Open Doors” fundraising appeal. SOS is also currently running a Christmas gift-card drive to help at-risk youth this Christmas. (Image via sosbc.org)
SOS Children’s Village BC launches annual Christmas gift-card drive

SOS collecting gift cards and donations for Surrey’s at-risk youth

Surrey protesters wearing their blue “bubble” suits. (Submitted photo)
OUR VIEW: Shut down strange Surrey protest

Unfortunate neighbourhood under siege for 12 weeks and counting

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read