With the current hiring freeze on the RCMP and a plan to bring in fewer officers in 2021, policing strengths in this city will be dropping markedly over the next few years, PulseFM has learned.
Surrey RCMP is currently at 843 officers, and while 12 more were requested in February, council denied it. No more officers will be hired until a Surrey police department is put in place of the RCMP.
However, the hiring freeze, and the eventual plan to have 805 officers in the Surrey PD shows a significant drop in police strength in this city.
Surrey currently has 146 officers per 100,000 residents. Because of our growth in population, that drops to 143 next year, and when 805 officers are brought on with the Surrey PD, that drops further to 134 officers per 100,000 residents.
The national average in 2016, the last year tallied, was 190 officers per 100,000 residents.
Surrey Coun. Jack Hundial said he is shocked to hear the numbers.
“We’re already in a vulnerable position to begin with, that’s why we’re here today,” Hundial said. “To add more vulnerabilities, but also risks, to the whole model, it presents more complicated problems.”
Hundial, a former Mountie, said such low policing strengths are hard on the people trying to make our streets safe.
“It is challenging, it does have an impact on morale,” Hundial told Pulse FM. “It does have an impact on the quality of service you can provide.”
Surrey Coun. Linda Annis said she’s also crunched the numbers on our police strengths and is outraged by them.
She is still trying to digest the full impact of a switch to a municipal police force which currently awaits approval from the provincial government.
The city plans to have the new force in place by April 1, 2021.