A new public opinion poll commissioned by the National Police Federation suggests 83 per cent of Surrey residents want city hall to put the brakes on replacing the RCMP with a city-made police force, given the COVID-19 outbreak.
The NPF represents more than 20,000 Mounties and as such is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada and the second largest in North America.
This is the second survey related to Surrey’s policing transition plan that the NPF has commissioned from Pollara Strategic Insights in recent months. The first, released in February, suggested 83 per cent of Surrey residents “favour a referendum before a final decision is made on the issue of replacing the RCMP in Surrey.”
In that case, Pollara conduct an online survey of 800 “randomly selected Surrey residents,” ages 18 and above, between January 21-31, 2020.
Key findings of this latest poll, featuring a “randomly selected” sample of 803 Surrey residents between April 17 and April 27, suggest that 90 per cent of Surrey residents say city council “should take a step back to evaluate spending plans to focus on residents’ most urgent priorities,” while 16 per cent of Surrey residents say replacing the Surrey RCMP with its own city police force “should be a major priority right now.”
Brian Sauvé, president of the NPF, maintains Surrey residents “have made their priorities clear, focusing on the need for core services and support for those who have been impacted by this pandemic.
“People are clearly telling us this is not the right time for this policing transition plan,” he said. “COVID-19 has shown how important it is to have dedicated and experienced emergency responders who know their communities. Now is not the time for a disruptive change in policing. We encourage city council to re-think this plan and focus on the health and safety of people and their communities.”
According to Pollara’s 18-page Surrey Policing: Wave 2 survey, over 53 per cent of Surrey residents “have an unfavourable impression of Mayor Doug McCallum” while “over three-quarters of Surrey residents have a favourable opinion of RCMP officers.”