Surrey Connect city councillors Brenda Locke and Jack Hundial have taken their fight against the city’s transition from the RCMP to its own police to a much bigger arena, sending a letter to more than 1,000 elected officials in local governments across B.C.
The councillors’ Feb. 15 letter says there’s “urgent need” for a feasibility study and warns B.C.’s civic politicians that the unprecedented transition process will have a financial impact on all B.C. cities that are policed by the RCMP.
Their letter notes that RCMP divisional administrative costs are shared cost among all RCMP jurisdictions.
“With the removal of approximately 850 RCMP members positions from Surrey – approximately 15 per cent of RCMP in B.C. – these costs will be redistributed amongst the remaining RCMP detachments in the Province,” Locke and Hundial warn. “The financial impact of the Surrey Police Transition has yet to be determined, but regardless, it will be an additional cost burden for every municipality.”
The letter asks civic politicians throughout B.C. to “require” the provincial government to commission an impact study of the Surrey policing transition to make certain it doesn’t “negatively impact” their own community, region, and “destabilize public safety in British Columbia.”
Hundial told the Now-Leader on Wednesday that communities policed by the RCMP will see an increase in divisional administration costs as a result of the Surrey RCMP detachment, Canada’s largest, re-allocating 800-plus officers into other areas.
“It’s basically the unexpected consequences of doing something like this without thinking it through or following it through,” Hundial said.
“We’ve received response back all the way from up north to the central Cariboo area, local, even from over on Vancouver Island as well,” he added. “I think it certainly made them aware of what this impact has, or may potentially be, if followed through, by the next budget cycle or two for municipalities. They have to start thinking about what the impact is going to be on their budget.”
Hundial noted that if the premise for Surrey starting its own police force is based on bringing in 100 or 200 experienced officers, these need to come from somewhere.
“We already know there’s going to be such a low application rate from existing RCMP members.”