Community safety officer program is cut in Surrey

SURREY – The RCMP’s community safety officer pilot program has been cancelled, affecting 10 officers in Surrey.

Those positions, and seven others in the province, will be eliminated in 2015. The officers, however, will not lose their employment but rather be assigned to different roles within the RCMP.

“I can tell you, I’m a big fan and supporter of the duties that our CSOs do,” said Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, who broke the news about the cancellation Wednesday, during a Surrey Board of Trade luncheon.

The British Columbia pilot project, launched in July 2008, saw 17 candidates selected from the RCMP E Division’s auxiliary constable pool.

The cities funded 90 per cent of the program, and the federal government 10 per cent.

Sworn in as members of the RCMP under Section 7(1)(a) of the RCMP Act, the CSOs are special constables with peace officer status. They work full time, with a starting salary of $54,241, but they don’t carry guns.

A general duty Mountie’s salary starts at $61,577, topping out at $76,792 in year five. After five years, a CSO’s salary is $63,993.

The RCMP National Program Evaluation Services chopped the program after finding that, as currently implemented, it “will experience difficulties in meeting its final goal of contributing to safer homes and communities through visible, accessible, policing and crime prevention services.”