SURREY— New Democrat MLAs in Surrey have written to Justice Minister Suzanne Anton joining the call for a reversal to more than $4 million in cuts to law enforcement and for provincial action on the Surrey Accord.
“The B.C. Liberal Minister has acknowledged that the Combined Special Forces Unit has done tremendous work to reduce and solve gang killings, interrupt murder conspiracies and take illegal weapons out of the hands of criminals and off our streets. The B.C. Liberal plan to eliminate Team Six, which is the eyes and ears of this unit, is short-sighted, reckless, and flies in the face of their praise for this unit,” said Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston.
Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains noted it’s not just the Combined Special Forces Unit (CSFEU) that is being cut, but also the major crimes unit, which investigates cases such as the murder of Julie Paskall, a brutal attack that shocked and galvanized Surrey.
“Communities rely on the investigators in the major crimes unit to bring killers to justice and to help families find closure in missing persons cases,” said Bains. “Surrey currently has one of the lowest numbers of police officers on a per capita basis – these B.C. Liberal cuts will do nothing to make our community safer.”
Ralston noted that instead of making cuts to police, the B.C. Liberals should be joining with New Democrat MLAs and local government to implement the Surrey Accord.
“In January, New Democrats proposed that the B.C. Liberal government sign on to a Surrey Accord, which would address community safety problems with five key pillars: investing in policing, creating a community court, regulating recovery homes, committing to a mental health strategy, and building more social housing,” said Ralston.
“7 months later, and the only action we’ve seen from the Liberals is cuts to critically important police services. Surrey and other B.C. communities deserve better.”
The Surrey MLAs’ letter follows New Democrat public safety spokesperson Mike Farnworth’s call for a reversal of these cuts earlier in the week.
A copy of the letter can be found here: 2014-08-22 Surrey MLAs Letter to Minister Anton