Surrey city council takes next steps towards dissolving the police service

94 per cent of Surrey Police Services show "no desire" to work for the RCMP

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By Virender Singh 

The RCMP in Surrey will struggle to recruit the needed 161 new officers despite city council approving a move back to the Mounties, according to the fledgling Surrey Police Services. 

Monday night, Surrey city council voted to approve the framework for maintaining the RCMP as the police of jurisdiction and halting the transition to a municipal force. 

But a pledge recently conducted showed that 94 per cent of SPS officers had “no desire” to work for the RCMP, according to Ian MacDonald, the media liaison for the SPS. 

More officers needed

According to a report presented to Surrey city council, “to achieve the funded strength of 734 RCMP Members, the RCMP will need to add approximately 161 members to offset the current complement of SPS Assigned Officers.” 

The result of Monday’s council meeting directs city staff to create a final plan for keeping the RCMP which will be presented to council on Dec. 12.  

According to Amy Jugpal, the communications lead for Mayor Brenda Locke, the council “will look at that report and decide whether or not to send it to the province.” 

All about the budget

The reason Surrey council is trying to discontinue the Surrey Police Service and return the city to the RCMP’s jurisdiction is because of the budget, according to Locke. 

“Policing is one of the largest parts of our entire budget for all municipalities,” Locke said. “So, it does become a bit about the dollars as well.” 

Moreover, the federal government offers a 10 per cent subsidy for operating the Surrey RCMP. 

But according to Ryan Buhrig, treasurer of the Surrey Police Union, the new policing model comes with a caveat. 

“The RCMP can redeploy up to 10 per cent of Surrey members to provincial or national priorities,” said Buhrig. “And that was really important to our members. They wanted to be accountable to Surrey, not accountable to Ottawa.” 

The same report presented to Surrey city council said the second phase of demobilization won’t be underway until 2023 and in the interim, the numbers of RCMP officers out in the streets have dropped down 

“Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards was very clear that recruiting is starting to happen,” for experienced officers and the cadet program, Locke said. 

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