The organization representing RCMP members across Canada, more than 800 of them stationed in Surrey, has asked the fast-growing city to hold a referendum on policing.
The B.C. government gave the green light last summer for Surrey to say how it would replace the RCMP with a municipal force, one of Mayor Doug McCallum’s main election platforms in 2018. Surrey’s contract with the Mounties allows the city to terminate it with two-years’ warning and the mayor promises to have a municipal force up-and-running in 14 months.
The new force’s annual operating budget is estimated at $192.5 million its first year, 10.9 per cent more than the RCMP’s projected budget for 2021.
“Instead of funding more frontline RCMP officers to fight crime and gang violence, the mayor is planning to spend (an extra) $19 million on a new police bureaucracy that will report directly to him,” Brian Sauvé, president of the National Police Federation, said. “Surrey residents deserve a say on this important issue and the mayor needs to listen.”