Surrey has finally released its plan to walk away from the RCMP in favour of a municipal police force.
On Monday afternoon, Surrey released the $150,000, 189-page report, making it public for the first time.
The report indicates there will be a five per cent increase in overall staffing under the new model, at an ongoing additional cost of about $20 million annually.
The current RCMP force in Surrey is 843 officers, and the report deducts from that the 51 vacancies, for a net strength of 792 officers.
It notes that a municipal police force (Surrey PD), would have 805 police officers, with 325 civilian personnel and 20 community policing staff, bringing the total indicated in the report to 1,150 employees.
The full annual cost of the Surrey PD would be $192.5 million at full rollout in 2021. That compares to the $173.6 million it would cost for the RCMP.
It’s anticipated there will be a one-time cost of almost $20 million to recruit, administer and equip the new police force and an additional $19.4 million over four years in transition costs.
“A municipal policing model will provide the residents of Surrey with a police organization that will be highly responsive to Surrey’s specific policing needs and reflects the city’s diversity,” the report states. “Locally recruited officers will better represent the community, will be able to foster long-term relationships, and can apply knowledge to achieve lasting solutions to maximize community safety.”
At least three councillors are questioning the math in that assumption.
Couns. Brenda Locke, Linda Annis and Jack Hundial are highly suspect of what they see in the transition report.
Annis says Surrey is reducing the number of officers to 805 from 843 for a bigger cost to the taxpayer.
There will be vacancies under a municipal model as well, they say, and if civilian personnel are included in the tally of Surrey PD, the same math should be used to calculate the strength of Surrey Mounties.
Surrey Coun. Brenda Locke has several concerns about some of the logic held within the report.
She is worried about the math used in the report that calculates the full complement of our RCMP. It subtracts those away on sick leave and maternity, while numbers are added to the Surrey Police Department, including civic staff.
Surrey Coun. Linda Annis had similar concerns.
“How can having fewer officers make our city safer, when what we need are 300 new officers, if you do a side-by-side comparison of Vancouver and Surrey,” said Annis. “In addition, the proposed budget is ridiculously low and without details. The proposed budget doesn’t make much sense without details. The report to the provincial government reflects no public input and I think Surrey taxpayers and voters will be perplexed by the reduced number of officers. Frankly, this is a far cry from what we need and a demonstration of decisions made behind closed doors.”
The report is now in the hands of B.C. Minister for Public Safety Mike Farnworth, who will decide whether he will allow Surrey to create its own police force.
The report indicates the Surrey Police Department could be implemented by April, 2021.
Full report below.
Coles notes comparison in 2021
Surrey PD: 805
RCMP: $173.6 M
Surrey PD: $192.5 M
The report recommends remaining with the current Lower Mainland District integrated policing teams including the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, Police Dog Services, Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Services, Integrated Forensic Identification Services and Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team.
Days until the Surrey PD “Goes Live”