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Surrey needs a police board, not its own police force: former Delta police chief

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – There’s been plenty of discussion in Surrey about whether the city should get its own police force, a topic that will likely be debated during the lead up to this fall’s civic election. But a long time cop says the city should look at Vancouver and Delta for ideas.

“Maybe you don’t need to take the complete step of going to a city police model, maybe they could just look at a remodelling of the policing model they got in place now,” says Jim Cessford, who was Delta’s police chief for 20 years.

He says Surrey could instead create a police board, which could save mounties money and provide the added accountability that’s needed.

“The police board represents the community,” he says. “And under the Police Act, it says police departments must have a police board.”

Surrey RCMP is not required to have one because it’s not a municipal force, but, Cessford believes creating a board would be a good first step to addressing community concerns.

“They provide oversight, they look at our budgets to see how our budgeting is going, to see if, in fact, we’re putting money or spending money appropriately, that our proper policies are in place and that our policing model is effective.”

He says the board also looks at policies and procedures as well as resource deployment.

Cessford says the oversight actually makes the board the “employer” of the police department unlike Surrey’s Public Safety Committee, which doesn’t have that power. Although the mounties point out their Officer In Charge — Dwayne Mcdonald — reports directly to the mayor.

Currently, policing in Surrey is provided by 835 Mounties, making the Surrey detachment the largest municipal RCMP force in the country.

-With files from the Canadian Press