Surrey Connect’s mayoral candidate Brenda Locke says keeping the RCMP instead of incoming Surrey Police Service would save Surrey residents $520 million over the next four years.
And forging ahead with the Surrey Police Service, according to Surrey Connect, will result in heavy property tax increases over the next four years – averaging an estimated $965 more per year for detached homes, $424 more for townhouses and $282 for apartments.
“The truth is, it is not too late to save Surrey residents from an average tax increase of a minimum $500 each year, it’s not too late to keep the RCMP, and it’s not too late to transition the Surrey Police Service (SPS) out,” Locke said Friday.
“There is no legal mechanism in place for transfer of assets or a termination date for the RCMP. Currently, SPS members are deployed with the RCMP under a secondment agreement.”
The Surrey councillor said it’s “irresponsible and disrespectful to the taxpayers to keep going down the path of an independent municipal police force.”
Melissa Granum, executive director of the Surrey Police Board, said that “as with anything,” details matter.
“Without seeing a breakdown of how this number was developed, I cannot comment on its validity. Considering the overall policing budget for the city is currently just under $200 million dollars, it simply isn’t feasible to conclude that retaining the RCMP would save the city $130 million a year.”
Surrey Connect says it conducted a “thorough analysis” and Pardeep Kooner, a chartered professional accountant who is running for a council seat with Surrey Connect, says “the math shows we will save more than half a billion dollars over the next four years, by keeping the RCMP.”
Rob Stutt, a former Mountie running for councillor with Surrey Connect, said Surrey’s policing transition from the Surrey RCMP to Surrey Police Service is two years overdue and “not even half complete. It will take another four years of paying for two police forces, to be transition-ready,” he said.
Surrey Connect states in a press release issued Sept. 23 that the SPS transition plan assumes Surrey RCMP resources – IT infrastructure included – will transfer and “significant numbers” of Surrey Mounties would join the SPS, but “neither has proven to be true.”
The slate, formed by Locke and Coun. Jack Hundial, who is not seeking re-election, is the only slate campaigning to stop the policing transition “in its tracks” if a supportive majority is elected on Saturday, Oct. 15.