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Surrey councillor says ongoing violence is keeping him up at night

Police at the scene of a fatal shooting in Surrey last Tuesday.
Police at the scene of a fatal shooting in Surrey last Tuesday. Shane MacKichan

A Surrey city councillor says he’s having trouble sleeping because of the violence in his city.

READ MORE: Video captures chaotic car chase, brawl in Surrey neighbourhood

Coun. Doug Elford’s comment comes after the mayor said the same a few weeks ago. Both said they feel change is coming if a new municipal police force is approved by the provincial government.

Elford says it’s concerning to all members of the council that the violence continues.

For years, when Elford was an outspoken community activist, he called for more “boots on the ground.”

“Things have to be better because we can’t accept bullets, shells bouncing off the streets in our neighbourhoods,” said Elford.

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However, would more police officers help quell the violence?

“That’s really hard to say right now. It may be a matter of how they’re deployed,” he said.

Mayor Doug McCallum says he and others are frustrated.

“We’re frustrated with what’s happening. Certainly, I’ve been frustrated with it and I think the concern in our community is they’re frustrated with it and so we need to get better control on it.”

READ MORE: Longtime Surrey cop ‘frustrated’ by rise in violent crime after latest fatal shooting

McCallum and Elford hope the new civic Surrey Police Department will put a dent in crime because there will be more local control of how officers are deployed.

However, Linda Annis, the lone opposition member of the city council, isn’t buying it.

“You can’t just change the badge — you have to change the way you’re doing things,” she said.

A city report on transitioning away from the RCMP to a civic police force was to have been completed by Tuesday, but Mayor McCallum says it will take another week to 10 days to complete.

It then goes to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth who must approve any changes.

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Surrey has the largest RCMP detachment in the country.

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