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Surrey Police Union alleges bullying and harassment by RCMP in bid to join court battle

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The ongoing saga of Surrey policing has yet another chapter.

Last Friday, the Surrey Police Union filed court documents alleging harassment and bullying by Surrey RCMP members. The allegation is part of an application by the union to become a party to the petition started by the City of Surrey. That petition, and its subsequent amendment filed earlier this month, aims to halt the transition in Surrey from the RCMP to the Surrey Police Service.

The lawyer for the union, Sebastian Anderson, said Wednesday that the alleged harassment and bullying has delayed the transition from the RCMP to the SPS—and is one of several reasons the province was correct in ordering the transition to go ahead.

“The allegations are that the workplace is poisoned, a toxic workplace, as a result of bullying, harassment and intimidation,” said Anderson.

The union claims in its court application that the alleged harassment has been a factor in causing some SPS members to leave the service.

“It has had a detrimental effect on the unions’ members -- we have lost 36 members as a result of the toxic work environment,” said Anderson.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says the transition to SPS won't be impacted by the latest legal filings. He didn’t comment specifically on the allegations, only addressing harassment generally.

“Regardless of whether it’s Surrey Police Service or RCMP, whether you’re male or female, (everyone) deserves a safe working environment that is free of harassment,” said Farnworth Wednesday.

These latest volleys come on the eve of the next police budget being provided to Surrey council, expected Thursday. It’s a budget that the city's mayor, Brenda Locke, said Wednesday that she's bracing for, and reiterated she thinks will be the start of double-digit tax hikes if the transition to SPS continues.

“The impact to Surrey residents will be incredible, and this will be something this NDP government will be having to take responsibility for,” said Locke Wednesday, while visiting the B.C. Legislature.

Locke remains defiant that she wants Surrey to be policed by the RCMP, contending that the ongoing transition will cost her taxpayers $460 million more over the next ten years.

She says she’s not surprised that the union wants to weigh into the dispute. “I had assumed that they would file for intervener status -- I assumed that they would – I’m not surprised by that.”

City council meets Monday, but Locke said Wednesday she doesn’t think the police budget will get voted on by then. Meanwhile, the harassment and bullying allegations haven't been tested in court.

Surrey RCMP issued a statement to CTV News Wednesday evening, noting they were looking into the documents, and were not prepared to speak to them yet.

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