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Surrey City Council considers spending $500,000 on new police force during pandemic

Last Updated May 24, 2020 at 11:04 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)

City Council is set to consider purchasing a new security system for the Surrey Police Department

New equipment would cost Surrey more than $500,000 from taxpayers

Council will consider the purchase Monday night

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Despite struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Surrey City Council will consider upgrading security measures for the new police force.

If approved, the move would cost the city more than 500,000 taxpayer dollars.

Councillor Linda Annis says the city can’t handle the cost of the move, adding there are other priorities the city should be focused on.

“To spend $500,000 on a database security module for the pending Surrey police department to me, it’s just not on. The proposed budget initially is [$129-million plus] for the transition, and that’s the transition alone,” Annis says. “This is not money that we should be spending right now.”

Annis adds the original budget for the information technology is between $6-million to $20-million.

She tells NEWS 1130, her suggestion is to pause the transition temporarily while the city grapples with the pandemic.

“What we should be doing is taking that money and putting it into programs that will help residents of Surrey, and businesses in Surrey, get back on their feet financially,” she says.

City staff are recommending the city fork over the cash for database security modules, which are used to store sensitive information.

Council will consider the recommendation, which was brought forward by city staff on Monday night.