Surrey’s police chief says the city’s proposed budget for 2021 includes a 25 per cent reduction in funding for the RCMP to accommodate the police transition – and he had no idea it was coming.
Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards made the statements in an internal memo on Nov. 19 obtained by the Now-Leader.
In the email, Edwards writes that the publication of a city report “was unfortunately the first formal notification I received from the City on their intent to reduce our budget by $45.01M in 2021.”
“I was not consulted during the budgeting process, which means that I do not have any information on how the City intends to implement this 25% reduction,” he adds.
Edwards says in the memo that he has not received any notification to initiate a reduction in Surrey RCMP’s personnel, “nor is there any agreement yet in place for any partial transition to a municipal police service in 2021.”
The memo indicates Edwards anticipates a “positive resolution” to his concerns given his “strong working relationship” with the city’s executive staff.
Edwards writes he has sent his concerns to city hall. He says his letter notifies the city that “if this proposed reduction were to move ahead without further agreements in place, it will impact adequate and effective levels of policing in the City.”
The Now-Leader requested further comment from Edwards. Surrey RCMP responded via email that Edwards would not be participating in an interview Friday but outlined the police chief’s main concerns.
“Our primary concern is that the proposed budget indicates a 25% reduction in the Surrey RCMP’s 2021/2022 budget. It is also not clear how this reduction is to be implemented, including impacts on personnel, resources or services. We are seeking a confirmation of the budget for the Surrey RCMP for 2021/2022,” the email states.
“While we respect efforts in support of a transition to a municipal police service are still underway, the Working Group is still developing a roadmap of key milestones, decisions points and a shared work plan to move the transition forward. There is currently no plan in place.”
The statement says a budget reduction of this nature, if approved, will “have a direct impact on the Surrey RCMP’s ability to deliver policing services to the City of Surrey. Our people continue to do an outstanding job delivery police services to the city and they deserve to have a clear understanding of expectations and impacts moving forward.”
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has not yet responded to a request for comment.
BELOW: An internal Surrey RCMP memo obtained by the Now-Leader written by Surrey’s Officer-in-Charge Brian Edwards.