Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)

National Police Federation members slam Surrey police transition to Surrey Board of Trade

During virtual meeting, bargaining unit representatives say municipal force ‘not a done deal’

Executive representatives of the National Police Federation – bargaining unit for close to 20,000 RCMP officers across Canada, and 850 in Surrey – have slammed Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s proposal to transition to a municipal force to members of the Surrey Board of Trade.

In a ‘Surrey Digital Town Hall’ Zoom meeting hosted by SBOT on Wednesday (Feb. 24), NPF president Brian Sauve and Pacific Region board member Trevor Dinwoodie charged that the city has no practical plan for providing policing for residents and businesses when the Surrey RCMP contract expires on March 31.

“What that will look like, nobody knows,” Sauve said, adding that estimated costs of the transition have “tripled – from $19 million to $64 million.”

READ ALSO: Model says $2.9 million spent on Surrey policing transition so far

But it’s not just costs to Surrey taxpayers that should be of concern, Sauve told participants in the town hall, which also included South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay and Surrey councillors Linda Annis, Brenda Locke and Steven Pettigrew.

He and Dinwoodie said that attempting to replace 850 RCMP officers with new Surrey Police Services members – at a time when recruiting police officers is a nation-wide challenge – would drain a dwindling supply of personnel from other municipalities.

“It will destabilize policing across the Lower Mainland,” Sauve said.

Sauve and Dinwoodie also claimed that – after 18 months in delays in the transition – it’s a myth that Surrey is irrevocably stuck with a municipal force.

“This is not a done deal,” Sauve said. “There’s been a bit of discussion that it is, that they’ve hired a chief – boom, done.”

READ ALSO: ‘A clean canvas’: Norm Lipinksi named Surrey’s police chief

Although the province has technically approved it, the decision is not binding, he suggested.

B.C. public safety minister and solicitor general Mike Farnworth has “every authority to withhold the grant or withhold approval for the police transition,” he said, urging those with concerns about the transition to write to Surrey’s mayor and council and all other levels of government.

READ ALSO: Solicitor General has ‘no illusions’ about acrimony over Surrey’s police transition

READ ALSO: National Police Federation ‘raising concerns’ Surrey Police Service won’t be up for four years

While estimates vary, he noted, he believes that, based on Surrey’s size – the largest city by land area and the second most populated in Metro Vancouver – the community probably needs a complement of some 1,100 to 1,300 police officers.

He noted other municipalities currently share in the costs for the Green Timbers RCMP headquarters, a base for integrated services throughout Metro Vancouver.

“There is no plan for integrated services,” Sauve said.

How Surrey will make up for the withdrawal of such shared RCMP and Government of Canada services and infrastructure – ranging from everything from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team to aerial units, emergency response teams, underwater rescue teams, forensic identification, explosive disposal and police dog services – is unknown, he said.

One year ago, Terry Waterhouse, general manager of the policing transition for the City of Surrey, said that while the details were still being worked out, the new SPS would continue to work with the Lower Mainland’s integrated police teams to maintain continuity in criminal investigations during the transition.

“We will maintain our support for the Lower Mainland integrated teams to ensure continuity of those important services and we will continue that cross-departmental collaboration that occurs through these integrated teams,” he said last February.

READ ALSO: Surrey Police to work with integrated teams during transition from RCMP

Also gone, Dinwoodie said, will be Surrey and the RCMP’s formerly “progressive” partnership in establishing community relationship-fostering initiatives to help reduce crime – something he has been closely involved in during a 17-year career spent almost entirely policing Surrey through such crises as the rise of gang violence and explosion of deadly opiate use among the homeless on the Whalley strip.

“Homelessness and addiction have had a massive impact on small business,” Sauve pointed out.

As a measure of the success of Surrey initiatives, he and Dinwoodie cited five-year figures recorded between 2014 and 2019 that showed a decline of crime in Surrey of 14.3 per cent, where the B.C. average was an increase of 15.78 per cent, and other centres in Canada posted increases all the way up to a 62 per cent spike in Winnipeg during the same period.

Another immediate victim of the impending transition would be the RCMP’s existing gang task force, they said.

Meeting host and SBOT chef executive officer Anita Huberman asked whether a different policing model would be as effective in reducing the influence of gangs in Surrey.

“To say that a municipal force is going to solve it is a bit of a pipe dream,” Dinwoodie said.

– with file by Tom Zytaruk



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of SurreyPoliceRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service to begin public consultation late June, early July

Community input, chief constable says, ‘will occur’

Surrey RCMP reunited three stolen puppies with their mom. (RCMP handout)
Puppies stolen from South Surrey home located, reunited with mom

Surrey RCMP said they found the stolen puppies on April 16

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read