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.

Just Posted

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

Upper Skeena Recreation Centre evacuated after ammonia leak detected

The leak was related to refrigerators responsible for ice maintenance of the skating rink

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

WATCH: Jessica Patrick’s cousin Jacquie Bowes speaks at the Jessica Patrick Memorial March

The march commemorated the one-year anniversary of the 18-year-old’s unsolved death

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Victoria puppy dies after consuming poisonous mushrooms

A chocolate lab turned in to the Victoria Humane Society died Thursday morning

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of invasive giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Nanaimo’s Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’ in Canada

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Human case of West Nile virus reported on Vancouver Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed case reported in August

Most Read