The City of Surrey released its Surrey Policing Transition Plan on Monday, June 3, and it includes an annual operating cost increase of 10.9% in 2021.
According to the proposed staffing model, the implementation of the Surrey PD will take place over three separate City Budget years: 2019, 2020, and 2021. The Surrey PD is projected to “go live” on April 1, 2021. Previously, Mayor McCallum stated he hoped the force would “go live” in 2020.
Currently, the projected operating costs for the Surrey RCMP in 2021 are $173.6 million; the transition to the Surrey operated model in 2021 will cost $192.5 million. In other words, an annual increase of 10.9%.
The move is part of Mayor McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition platform, which aims to remove the RCMP in favour of a municipal police force. Presently, the Surrey RCMP is the largest detachment in the country. Of the 19 Canadian communities with a population of more than 300,000 residents, Surrey remains the only city without a local police department.
Of course, the proposal is not without its critics. For example, Coun. Linda Annis says a municipal force would result in 38 fewer officers than the RCMP and she wants a referendum on switching forces.
Annis Tweeted about the report on Monday, June 3, noting that, “We’ll pay more, for less according to the Surrey Police transition report out today.” She notes that the report suggests that Surrey reduce its force by 38 members, while still spending millions more.
We’ll pay more, for less according to the Surrey Police transition report out today. It suggests we reduce our police force by 38 members, and spend millions more. With public safety also impacted, it’s just not what Surrey taxpayers want or deserve. https://t.co/Pa3WDDWmxj
— Linda Annis (@LindaAnnisBC) June 3, 2019
The city highlights in the report that the new model would result in an increase of 16% more frontline officers. Further, the report states that the changes will result in 805 police officers, while the “Surrey RCMP detachment has an authorized strength of 843 RCMP members as of 2019, although it currently carries 51 vacancies. As a result, the Surrey RCMP has a funded strength of 792 officers.”
The RCMP state that, “It is important to note that we currently have a full complement of police officers at Surrey Detachment.”
The RCMP also note that 58% of these positions go to the Lower Mainland Integrated Teams, which include: IHIT; IFIS; ICARS; PDS; ERT. In addition, the RCMP describe that, “In order to cover any temporary vacancies (due to transfers, gradual return to work, maternity/paternity leaves, sick leave, etc.), the RCMP provides 51 additional positions for Surrey Detachment.”
With this in mind, Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs, Acting Commanding Officer, E Division, RCMP, also released the following statement: “As the RCMP is a service provider only, we won’t express our opinion or analysis of the City of Surrey’s report, nor is it appropriate for us to publicly discuss the feasibility of the proposed plan.”
With files from the Canadian Press.
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