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Date set for Surrey Police Service to take over from RCMP: Farnworth

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A date has been set for the Surrey Police Service to replace the RCMP and become the police of jurisdiction in B.C.'s fastest-growing city.

The SPS will take over on Nov. 29, 2024, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced Tuesday.

"We have reached a major milestone in this transition journey," he said at a news conference.

"More than anything, the people of Surrey want this to be over. Today we are turning the page on this chapter." 

The date does not mean the transition will be complete – finalizing it is a process Farnworth estimated will take at least two years. The SPS and the RCMP will continue work side by side, as they have been throughout the transition. As new SPS officers are hired, Mounties will be redeployed.

"The agreed upon pathway is consistent with the existing legislative framework and can occur in a way that will not require RCMP to delegate their authority or be under the command of another agency," Farnworth said. "Rather, the two police agencies will work together under a collaborative arrangement."

Tuesday's announcement is the latest development in the years-long fight over who will police the city and Farnworth urged any leery observers to take note of the fact that he was flanked by the heads of both police agencies.

"Has it taken time to get to where we are? Yes, in part, because the city of Surrey has refused to be at the table. But the reality is, we are moving this transition forward," he said.

"We're all here, which tells you that we're all on the same page in moving the transition forward," he said.

Mayor Brenda Locke campaigned on keeping RCMP and the City of Surrey has taken the fight to court, seeking a judicial review of the province's moves to advance the transition.

She did not make herself available for an interview Tuesday, instead releasing a statement making it clear that her position on the matter and her plans remain the same.

"Aside from setting an aspirational date, nothing else has changed. Minister Farnworth’s 'announcement' today is simply another desperate attempt by the province to demonstrate some kind of progress on this issue, mere days before the matter is heard in court," she said.

Locke also maintained that no "substantial" progress has been made since the transition began five years ago and that replacing the RCMP is something that is neither fiscally responsible nor in the interest of public safety in the city. 

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