Eyes on Surrey, B.C., as it moves to replace RCMP with local police force
SURREY, B.C. — Anti-gang advocate Sukhi Sandhu says he will be watching closely as the new city council in Surrey, B.C., attempts what many local governments before have considered but few have done: replacing its RCMP with a municipal police force. The city just east of Vancouver is among the fastest growing in the province, with a young and diverse community that speaks more than 100 different languages and where about one-third of its residents are under 19. It’s expected to surpass Vancouver in population as the largest city in B.C. by 2041. With that growth, the longtime resident said he’s concerned about gun violence involving youth, even as the RCMP says overall crime is on the decline. When two teenagers were found dead on a rural road in what police called a targeted shooting in June, Sandhu said many in the city felt the same way: “Enough is enough.” Answering that problem will require a multilayered approach involving police, as well as schools, families and politicians, he said. “We have no hesitation in saying that we are at a crisis point socially in Surrey,” said Sandhu, who is a spokesman with the antigang violence group Wake Up Surrey.