Victoria: The City of Surrey has been directed to move forward with an independent police service despite its determination to stay with the RCMP.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said he made the decision to avoid a crisis in policing in Surrey, which would have taken Mounties from other areas of the province.

In a statement, the minister said he has carefully considered the city’s report on moving back to the RCMP, but Surrey has not demonstrated that doing so would be safe or would not affect other communities.

Farnworth added that he made the decision under the Police Act because the city failed to meet the requirements to stop an “exodus of Surrey Police Service officers,” or to staff a Surrey RCMP without pulling Mounties from other communities.

The RCMP is experiencing critical vacancy problems in B.C. and across Canada, and because of that, Farnworth said an independent force “is the only path forward to ensuring the safety of people in Surrey, as well as people across the province.”

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke was elected on the promise to stop the move away from the RCMP and city council doubled down on the decision last month despite the province’s wishes along with a $150-million promise to help with the transition. — Canadian Press. 

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