Surrey, BC police union accuses city council of conflict of interest violations
The union, which represents officers from the fledgling independent police service in Surrey, BC, has filed a complaint accusing a councilor of violating conflict of interest rules in discussions about the police force over the past year.
The Surrey Police Union (SPU) said Monday Coun. Rob Stutt failed to disclose his family ties to the RCMP when the council voted on matters related to the city’s transition from Mounties as the police force in charge.
“The future of policing in Surrey will affect the public safety of residents for generations to come and it is vital that elected officers leading the policing transition process are beyond reproach,” Union President Rick Stewart wrote in a statement.
“The confidence of Surrey residents in public safety is essential to maintaining the quality of life in our city.
The union statement said Stutt voted against a transfer to the Surrey Police Service (SPS) in November without disclosing that his son works for the local Mounties department or that his daughter was seconded by the city, to work for the RCMP.
The union also criticized Stutt’s appointment in December to chair the public safety committee that would oversee the RCMP if it stayed in the city.
The union said it has formally asked the city’s newly installed ethics officer to investigate.
In a statement emailed to CBC News, Mayor Brenda Locke said the municipality expects to hire a new ethics commissioner in the next 30 days.
“Complaints to the Ethics Commissioner will be dealt with equally, and under my supervision, the Commissioner will have complete independence in his investigations, without interference from any Council member,” Locke said. “I have every confidence in Councilor Stutt and will not comment further while this complaint is active.”
Stutt, a former RCMP investigator, was elected to the council alongside Locke last autumn on a promise to bring Surrey back into the RCMP after the previous council began moving to an independent police service.
Stutt cited maintaining the RCMP and ethics and integrity at City Hall as two of his four top priorities.