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Concerns raised that municipalities will have to 'fill the gap' when Surrey completes police transition

Last Updated Sep 18, 2019 at 7:38 am PDT

FILE - The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

Surrey's impending switch to a municipal police force could affect you even if you don't live there

Some municipalities are worried they'll be stuck with higher policing costs when Surrey transitions away from the RCMP

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As Surrey forges ahead with plans to ditch the RCMP and switch to a city police force, other municipalities that rely on the Mounties are growing worried they’ll be stuck with higher policing bills after the transition.

Units like the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and Police Dog Services are paid for by municipalities that are policed by the RCMP. There are also various administrative costs that are shared among municipalities.

“Mayor Doug McCallum and his council are certainly entitled to do what they’re doing in terms of deciding they want to go to a municipal force, but this may have implications for a whole bunch of other municipalities around the province,” says North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, who raised concerns in a recent letter to the Local Government Contract Management Committee (LGCMC).

“Part of me, logically, says if they leave, everybody’s costs should go down because we’ve lost the largest component of the costs,” he explains. “But equally, we’ve also lost the largest contributor, and where does that leave the rest of us?”

Siebring wants the LGCMC and province to ensure the possible financial impacts of Surrey’s policing transition on other municipalities is taken into consideration by the transition team tasked with making the policing switch happen.

The District of Squamish is also worried about the possible financial gap left behind by Surrey’s switch. Councillors recently voted to express their concerns in a letter to the province.

“At this point, we definitely have some concerns about the potential financial impacts,” says Squamish acting-Mayor, Jenna Stoner. “There’s still lots of questions around how and what might happen.”

The mayor of Richmond, Malcolm Brodie, also thinks there are many questions that have yet to be answered. He believes costs for other cities will go up — the question is just by how much.

“I think that there’s going to be an adjustment in the kind of administrative cost that you’re going to have absorb between all the parties… so the bottom line is if surrey leaves the RCMP I don’t think there’s any way to calculate yet the financial impact but there will be some kind of an impact on all the cities that pay for their police and that includes Richmond.”