In response to the announcement of the appointment of Surrey Police Service (SPS) Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, NPF President Brian Sauvé says the Chief is taking over a transition process in complete disarray, with no officers hired, no agreement on a budget for 2021, and no transparency on ballooning costs.
"Like the rest of this flawed transition, Surrey selected their new Chief Constable completely behind closed doors without any public consultation," said Sauvé. "The job was posted for just two-weeks, and there was no opportunity for Surrey residents to provide any input whatsoever."
For months, the National Police Federation has been raising concerns about the stunning lack of planning for the proposed transition from RCMP to a new SPS. On Monday, Surrey announced a tripling of transition costs from $19 million to $64 million, tax increases of up to 15% on Surrey residents to pay for their costly and unpopular plan, and a 25% RCMP budget cut despite not having hired a single officer for the new SPS.
"It appears Surrey is playing a "shell game" with their budget. Also concerning is the absence of any agreement between the federal government, the BC RCMP, the NPF, the Province of BC and Surrey on a transition plan for 2021, and yet Surrey is cutting RCMP service by 25% in the middle of a global pandemic when they have no officers hired," added Sauvé. "This is a dangerous decision that could result in chaos for Surrey, and real risks to public safety."
The National Police Federation has compiled a list of key questions for the new Chief Constable that that Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and the Surrey Police Board he chairs have refused to answer:
Ballooning budget and tax hikes
- What oversight in planning is driving the tripling of transition costs to $64 million?
- Shouldn't taxpayers get a say on the ballooning budget and tax hikes to cover the cost of this transition plan?
- Has the federal government informed Surrey that Shared Services will not be providing IT services for the new SPS?
No officers hired
- How does the SPS expect to begin the transition in 2021 when they haven't hired a single officer?
- Where will the SPS recruit 800 new officers from?
- Has Surrey consulted with neighbouring communities about the impact this will have on public safety when officers from surrounding municipalities join the SPS, leaving gaps in policing service?
Flawed Chief Constable recruitment
- What effort was made to consider a diversity of candidates in the search for a new Chief Constable?
- Why was the public not given any opportunity to provide input?
"The Mayor and his friends pulled a bait and switch – they told Surrey taxpayers they wouldn't increase taxes, and then they increased the parcel tax 200% to $300 per household to cover the increasing cost of this unpopular and expensive transition plan," added Sauvé. "If the Mayor thinks Surrey residents support his double-digit tax increases and a tripling in transition costs, he's wilfully out of touch."
Surrey will now turn its attention to recruiting hundred of officers from neighbouring communities like Delta and Vancouver, creating havoc across the Lower Mainland and putting public safety at risk in pursuit of their unpopular plan.
According to an RCMP management survey of all Surrey members, only 14% of Surrey RCMP officers will even consider applying to the SPS. This means that officers in neighbouring police forces in other Metro Vancouver municipalities will be heavily recruited.
"Surrey's new Chief Constable will start with a transition process that is in complete disarray," said Sauvé. "The NPF and Surrey City Councillors have been ringing the alarm bell about these increasing costs for months, and a 200% increase in the parcel tax is just the beginning of the chickens coming home to roost. The Mayor made a complete mess of this process, and he's asking taxpayers to pickup the cheque."
About the National Police Federation:
The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP 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 will focus on improving public safety in Canada by negotiating the first-ever Collective Agreement for RCMP officers, and on increasing resources, equipment, training and supports for our members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and support 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/.