Former attorney general Wally Oppal. (Black Press Media files)

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Avoiding miscommunication similar to what plagued the RCMP and Vancouver police during the Pickton murders is top of mind for the head of the new Surrey police force transition team.

Former attorney general Wally Oppal will head the joint transition committee that’s being established after the province green-lit the municipal Surrey force on Thursday.

“We know from our past experience, particularly when we did the [Robert] Pickton inquiry into missing and murdered women, it’s most important that police departments share information,” Oppal told reporters Thursday.

“That wasn’t done in all cases in Pickton… we want to ensure those mistakes are not repeated in the future.”

Oppal said this was an especially important task in Surrey, where gang violence can run rampant and stretch all across the region.

“We know that people who commit crimes don’t respect geographical boundaries, so I think that’s why one of our priorities will be to ensure there’s a real-time intelligence centre where information is shared,” Oppal said.

He pointed that when Robert Pickton was picking up and killing dozens of women in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver police did not always share that information with Coquitlam RCMP who policed where Pickton lived.

“We knew a lot of the information regarding women missing in one jurisdiction wasn’t necessarily shared by police in another jurisdiction.”

The members of the committee Oppal will chair have not yet been revealed but will included representatives from both Surrey and the province.

Oppal said the “next major milestone is to establish a governing police board.”

That will be done via provincial legislation, he said, noting he could not give a date for its completion.

Overall, the boots on the ground deadline for the new Surrey force is April 1, 2021. Oppal could not comment on the transition committee’s budget.

Oppal, who has recommended a regional police force for Metro Vancouver in the past, said Thursday he did not thing a Surrey police force went counter to that goal.

“This could be the first step in a regional police force,” he said.

“The citizens of surrey are entitled to have their own police force.”

Other tasks for the transition committee include setting up recruitment and training plan, a collective agreement and a pension plan for the new Surrey police force, including a possible transition plan for current Surrey RCMP members who join the municipal department.

READ MORE: McCallum calls it a great and historic day as province approves Surrey’s policing plan

READ MORE: Province approves Surrey’s plan to establish municipal police force

READ MORE: Surrey reacts to policing plan getting the green light


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii COVID cases climb to 24 over B.C. Day long weekend

10 cases active, 14 cases now recovered; 23 people also isolating as a result of contact tracing

Boon Docs comics illustrate Haida Gwaii health staff ‘Behind the Mask’

Family doctor and cartoonist Caroline Shooner shares inspiration for new comic series

Two Kwuna sailings cancelled on B.C. Day

BC Ferries making schedule adjustments on Aug. 3 to facilitate charter flight

Fishing lodge ‘shocked’ by B.C. ban on non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii

West Coast Fishing Club ‘shocked and stunned’ by travel restriction put in place July 30

Province restricts non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii amid COVID outbreak

Provincial staff will help enforce travel restrictions from islands, mainland

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Racism in B.C. healthcare: Deadline for First Nations survey coming up on Aug. 6

Survey comes after hospital staff allegedly played a blood alcohol guessing game

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Most Read