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Police Complaint Commissioner raises concern with Farnworth about Police Act changes

The commissioner ‘strongly’ urged reconsideration of a section ‘to ensure continued accountability of the Surrey Police Service, independent of government’
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Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Police Complaint Commissioner Clayton Pecknold has urged Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to reconsider proposed changes to the Police Act that he says may impede Surrey residents’ ability to raise concerns about policing in their city.

On Oct. 18, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued a statement to the Now-Leader indictating a floor amendment will remove the concerning clause from the Bill.

“We are in communication with the Police Complaint Commissioner about the content of the proposed floor amendment and the Police Complaint Commissioner agrees that it will address their concerns,” the statement reads.

The commissioner sent a letter to Farnworth on Oct. 17 concerning an aspect of the legislation he says “may limit the ability of the citizens of Surrey to raise legitimate concerns with the provision of policing services within their community, and to have those concerns addressed transparently and impartially under our oversight.

This of “particular importance,” Pecknold told the minister, “given the unprecedented complexity of this transition and the uncertainty of its duration.”

The commissioner “strongly” urged reconsideration of the section “to ensure continued accountability of the Surrey Police Service, independent of government.”

The bill has already proceeded to second reading.

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The Now-Leader is awaiting a response from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

More to come…



About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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