Procedure skirted in Hells Angels-connected appointment to Surrey Police Board

HA connection questioned

B.C.’s director of police services bypassed the standard police board appointment process in appointing Harley Chappell — the son of a declared former member of the Hells Angels — to the Surrey Police Board.

A June 1, 2020, briefing note from director Brenda Butterworth-Carr to Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth shows how the provincial government appointed its seven members to the newly established nine-member board.

The note explains the “Indigenous peoples considerations” that factored into Chappell’s appointment.

Butterworth-Carr stated she received 76 applicants, conducted 25 interviews and then made recommendations to Farnworth for six candidates, after 11 secondary interviews. After listing the six double-interviewed and recommended members, the note subsequently indicates: “The director also recommends the appointment of the Chief Harley Chappell from the Semiahmoo First Nation.”

Butterworth-Carr states Indigenous representation on a police board helps support reconciliation efforts, such as reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.

That Semiahmoo First Nation is the only First Nation with lands that fall within the municipal boundary was another factor.

“To ensure SFN’s interests are represented and to support the Province’s commitment to reconciliation, the Director recommends the appointment of Chief Harley Chappell as a provincial appointee to the Board.”

Butterworth-Carr used the recent appointment of Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Ken Baird to the Delta Police Board to support her recommendation of Chappell.

There’s no indication from the note Chappell had competition from within Surrey’s Indigenous community, which is the largest urban one in the province and includes the Katzie First Nation on unincorporated Barnston Island, which is served by Surrey RCMP.

When Glacier Media asked the ministry specific questions about Chappell’s appointment, ministry spokesperson Jason Watson stated: “An extensive assessment and screening process is used to interview and appoint community members with the skills, competencies and attributes that align with the needs and responsibilities of the Board. Candidates are interviewed, complete a declaration form (Candidate Profile Declaration), which includes declarations of conflicts of interest and any other information that might be of concern, and consent to a criminal record check.”

It’s not made clear if being the son of a former Hells Angel might be of concern.

Watson stated the director reviewed the Surrey Police Board appointees “and is satisfied that the established processes were followed in this case.”

Photos of Chappell at a Hells Angels funeral, standing alongside full-patch members, emerged on social media in December. Chappell told the Vancouver Sun his dad, Philip Chappell, left the gang in 1992 and that he no longer has any association with the club.

The SPB is overseeing the transition process from the Surrey RCMP to the Surrey Police Service.

Surrey RCMP will eventually hand over all investigation files to SPS. One of those files will be a dormant investigation of a fire that burned down Philip Chappell’s home on Dec. 21, 2018, that investigators deem suspicious.

Chappell did not respond by email to an invitation to speak to his appointment process, nor did acting director Wayne Rideout, who conducted the apparent review late last year.

Rideout has temporarily replaced Butterworth-Carr who, citing health reasons, resigned five days after Chappell’s past Hells Angels connections were reported.

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