The Mayor of Surrey, Brenda Locke, stands accused of impeding the city’s shift from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to the Surrey Police Service (SPS). Allegedly, this transition was directed by the provincial government of B.C. during the summer.
A confidential letter was discreetly obtained from the Ministry of Public Safety, addressed to Mayor Locke. Penned by Glen Lewis, Deputy Minister and Director of Police Services, the letter raises concerns about repeated and damaging delays in the transition process. It conveys that such delays are primarily due to an evident absence of leadership and engagement from the city council and its staff.
On the 19th of July, the concluding directive that Surrey must abandon the existing RCMP detachment and adopt a municipal police force was delivered by Minister Mike Farnworth. The letter revealed that post this directive; over 50 meetings have taken place involving government officials, stakeholders and Jessica McDonald, the appointed strategic implementation advisor for the transition.
The letter offers a strong critique of Locke, accusing her of instructing city staff to remain detached from dialogue about the process. Locke dubbed these allegations as ‘ridiculous’, affirming to the media her team has been attempting to comprehend the transition plans. She also finds the manner of the initial leak ‘ironic’, and bemoans the lack of direct communication from the province.
The pressure on Locke increases as Minister Farnworth urges her to cease delays and acknowledge the finality of his decision. He is adamant that it is the city’s role to cooperate with the SPS and the federal government to complete the transition in a manner that ensures public safety.
The letter concludes with an urgent request for a report from Locke by October 13th, a timeline Locke deems unreasonable. In the meantime, the SPS has recruited Wayne Rideout on a contract to assist with the transition, a move Locke claims she was never informed about. She goes on to comment about the lack of communication from SPS, who argue that it isn’t feasible to discuss each hire and contract.
The city now awaits the next move in this unfolding saga, underlining once more the intricate dance of politics and public safety that continually shape the discourse of urban administration.