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Surrey Renews Call for Community Court

October 24, 2011

Surrey – Mayor Dianne Watts is renewing calls for the provincial government to establish a community court in Surrey in order to facilitate a problem-solving approach to crime, and create a more effective and efficient court system in the city. She put forward a motion to the City’s public safety committee meeting today, which was unanimously supported by members.

“I have been advocating for a community court in Surrey since our Crime Reduction Strategy was adopted in 2006,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “A community court model addresses the root causes of crime and is proven to divert offenders away from their negative lifestyle by giving them proper social support such as addiction treatment or housing. Since 2007, I have met with the Premier and Attorney General several times to request the Province establish a community court in Surrey, and I am trying to ensure this issue remains in the forefront of provincial discussions.”

Canada’s first community court was opened in Vancouver in 2008 to help address the issue of chronic offenders, and deals with downtown summary and hybrid offences, such as theft and causing a disturbance. Professional teams of federal and provincial Crown Counsel and staff, including probation, health, forensic, psychiatric, income assistance, housing, native court services, victim services and police are involved in offender assessment and providing solutions. Watts would like to see a similar system implemented in Surrey.

“Community courts deal with cases and people on an individual basis and is proven to reduce the revolving door of the justice system and help lead people away from a life of petty crime. If we address the root causes of these crimes we can better help people lead healthy, productive lives. The system is innovative, cost-effective and more efficient than the provincial court system.”

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor