The National Police Federation (NPF) is raising concerns related to testimony at a BC Legislative Committee, that the unpopular and expensive proposed Surrey Police Service will cost British Columbia taxpayers millions and not be operational for four years.
Yesterday, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) told the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services that the OPCC requires an additional $1.4 million in funds this year to hire and train new analysts. According to the OPCC, these analysts are required to accommodate the anticipated volume of new complaints related to the new Surrey Police Service. Complaints are an inevitable and necessary part of ensuring accountability and transparency for any police force. There are no such provincial costs for the Surrey RCMP, where complaints are dealt with under federal funding.
“This expense is yet another example of the rapidly and continually escalating cost of Surrey’s police transition,” said Brian Sauvé, President, National Police Federation. “These are real and tangible costs, not just for Surrey residents, but for all British Columbia taxpayers. It’s time for Mayor McCallum and his majority on Council to finally address the total cost of this expensive transition.”
At the legislative committee meeting, NDP MLA Mike Starchuk (Surrey-Cloverdale) noted that he didn’t expect the new Surrey Police Service to be operational for another four years. “Currently [Surrey Police Service] has four employees,” said Starchuk. “There's not going to be 800 members in this next fiscal year. It will probably be four years or so before they do that migration.”
Mayor McCallum promised the new Surrey Police Service would be operational by April 1, 2021 but the reality is it will be years until his expensive new service is fully functioning. There are still significant unknown or unclear costs related to the police transition, including liability and legal costs, loss of federal subsidies, and expenses to pay RCMP members to return to testify in court for ongoing Surrey cases for at least three to five years.
“There is still time to stop this transition, before the costs and taxes to cover them keep rising, and direct these significant funds to more urgent initiatives, including support for those who need it,” added Sauvé.
Last fall, the City of Surrey announced a significant 8% property tax hike for 2021 to help fund the new police service. This massive increase includes a tripling of the homeowner levy from $100 to $300 per homeowner.
About the National Police Federation:
The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP front-line Members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada; the second largest in North America and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members.
The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by negotiating the first-ever Collective Agreement for RCMP officers, and on increasing resources, equipment, training and other supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and supports for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.
For more information: https://npf-fpn.com/
Fabrice de Dongo
Manager, Media Relations