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

Our View: Province needs to crack down on COVID-spreading events

Illicit parties and rule-breaking gatherings need to be stopped

Many questions for Langley teachers as return to school approaches

Immune-compromised teachers are among those waiting to hear about plans

Summerset keeping ‘live music alive’ with weekly outdoor concerts at Fort Langley eatery

Sundays in August will see a ticketed audience of no more than 50 seated with social distance

Postcards from kids in Aldergrove to uplift isolated seniors amidst COVID

United Way launched Intergenerational Postcard Club in August, matching up kids with older pen pals

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read