SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A Surrey city councilor thinks taxpayers are in deep trouble if Mayor Doug McCallum’s plan to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force goes ahead.
McCallum says the switch will add only 10 per cent more to the city’s costs, but Linda Annis claims that’s just not possible.
“Vancouver has 12 officers per square kilometre whereas Surrey currently only has three, which means that we’re going to have to staff up significantly and I certainly don’t believe that we can do it for just 10 per cent more.”
She cites the difference in size between the two cities as just one issue, and adds if Surrey wants to follow the Vancouver model, the city needs to hire another 300 police officers — and that won’t come cheap.
Annis has been vocal about her concerns on the subject, and says she hasn’t even had a chance to see the report regarding Surrey’s potential switch from the RCMP to a municipal force.
“I have been asking for public consultation. I think the people that live in Surrey have every right to know what it’s going to cost, what the real numbers are. And how is it going to make them feel safer?”
She doesn’t believe just “changing the badge” will make a significant impact on making the community feel safer, and notes a “full plan” needs to be in place.
That includes, according to Annis, having things like early intervention programs in place, as well as more officers on the ground.
“There’s a multitude of things that we need to be doing and right now we’re just looking, to the best of my knowledge, at switching police forces. But yet, I haven’t seen anything so I’m not quite sure what the plan is.”
Annis is calling on the mayor to be more transparent with voters, and release the report into the proposal.
“There’s so many things that need to happen. We need to increase the number of members, we’ve got training to do, we’ve got new uniforms to buy, we’ve got IT. How are we going to pay for the shared resources? The list goes on and on.”