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'Ambitious' but 'achievable': Surrey police transition report details costs, staffing changes

Last Updated Mar 11, 2020 at 7:40 am PDT

FILE - A Surrey Police cruiser sits outside the Cloverdale Recreation Centre during the first open house about creating an independent police force in Surrey. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

We finally have some key details about the City of Surrey's plan to replace the largest RCMP detachment in the country

The nuts and bolts of Surrey's police transition are being revealed in a redacted version of the 455-page report

Surrey's plan to replace the RCMP with a municipal force has been dogged by critics from the start

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – It’s been fraught with controversy from the start, and while some Surrey residents remain vocally opposed to the switch from the RCMP to a municipal police department, the nuts and bolts of the transition plan have now been revealed.

The province has released a redacted version of the Provincial Municipality Policing Transition Study Committee’s 455-page report, which includes specific costing and staffing figures.

Under the current recommended model, the Surrey Police Department would cost the city $192.5-million in 2021, nearly 11 per cent more than the RCMP. The city would also not receive $21.6-million in federal subsidies and provincial tax exemptions granted to the current force.

The report does note, however, that the RCMP is making a unionization push, which if successful, would likely increase wage costs, and bring the comparative cost of the Surrey PD close to parity.

There are also one-time capital costs associated with the transition, including $11.8-million for equipment and outfitting.

The new department would seek to buy much of the Surrey RCMP’s existing equipment, including its fleet of vehicles.

The proposed model for the new municipal department includes 805 officers, which is fewer than the authorized strength of the Surrey RCMP last year — 843 officers.

However, the report says 51 of those RCMP positions were vacant in 2019. Plus, the municipal department is “designed to maximize the number of frontline practitioners,” putting 16 per cent more officers on the front lines, according to the report.

The “go-live” date for the transition is still scheduled for April 1, 2021. The next major steps include appointing a police board, and hiring a chief inspector.

“The establishment of the SPD, while ambitious, is also achievable if assumptions and risks noted in the report can be successfully addressed and managed,” the committee writes.

Read the report: