May 18, 2019 1:40 pm
Updated: May 18, 2019 1:42 pm

Surrey to host first public consultation on switch to civic police force

Surrey RCMP on scene outside the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

Paul Haysom / Global News

The City of Surrey will start public engagement next week on moving from the RCMP to a civic police force.

The first session will take place May 23 at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Residents are invited to learn more about the transition process and offer input into which priorities they want to see as the new police force takes shape.

WATCH: (Aired April 10) City of Surrey lays out plans for police force transition

Coun. Steven Pettigrew said he wanted to see public engagement a lot sooner to make sure a municipal police force is what residents really want.

“What I want is what is best for the people of Surrey,” he said. “If that looks like the RCMP, if it looks like a hybrid or a municipal police force, I just want what’s best and makes us safe. But I want the people involved.

READ MORE: B.C. premier takes aim at Surrey mayor as report on municipal police transition nears

“I want the public fully engaged in this process,” he added. “I don’t want them left out, and I don’t want decisions made by just a few people. It’s not right.”

Coun. Laurie Guerra said she’s excited to see the launch of public engagement, which will help the city finalize things like the design of the new force’s police cars.

WATCH: (Aired May 7) Surrey mayor gets mixed reaction for prototype police car

“In terms of what the colours of the car may end up being, it’s not written in stone the way it’s mocked up now,” she said. “Those kinds of things will be open to public consultation.”

The city report on the transition is expected to be sent to Victoria in the coming days.

READ MORE: Surrey mayor releases more information about new Surrey Police Department

It’ll be up to Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to approve it.

Premier John Horgan has said he’ll wait to see the report before asking the city to extend public consultation, which Mayor Doug MacCallum has said will last up to three weeks.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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