Surrey man arrested with stolen pickup, loaded shotgun – Surrey Now-Leader

Surrey man arrested with stolen pickup, loaded shotgun - Surrey Now-Leader
Surrey police transition plan: fewer officers, higher cost
The city made the announcement in the release of its long-anticipated transition plan detailing what a new policing model for the municipality would look like.

The report says a force would cost $192.5 million in 2021 — a 10.9 per cent increase over the projected costs of keeping the RCMP — and would have 805 police officers and 20 "Community Safety Personnel". 

The report also details around $40 million in one-time funding, which would include $11.8 million to recruit, administer and equip new staff; $7.6 million to transition existing, upgrade and replace IT systems and infrastructure; and one-time transition staffing costs to execute the Surrey PD staffing model over four fiscal years to the tune of nearly $20 million.

Currently, Surrey RCMP have an authorized strength of 843 police officers. The city says there are 51 vacancies — but the RCMP says all of those jobs are being backfilled with staff provided by the RCMP.  

“Of the 19 Canadian population centres with more than 300,000 residents, Surrey is the only community without a local police department. Additionally, Surrey is 28 times larger than the average community policed by the RCMP, making Surrey an outlier among both major Canadian cities and RCMP jurisdictions.”

Creating an independent police force and terminating the policing contract with the RCMP was a main campaign promise of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum in last October's election. The city is the largest in Canada under RCMP jurisdiction. 

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has been advocating for the city to release the plan to the public. The province has not made a final decision, but is expected to propose some changes to the plan in order to ensure a maximization of public safety during and after the transition.

The report must be approved by the provincial government before the city can begin the transition. In a statement, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said "we are in the process of analyzing the details within Surrey's report and will not be commenting on the individual elements at this time."

During the 2018 election campaign, McCallum promised that Surrey would have its own police force within two years, and last month he said he expected the force would be up and running by July 2020. 

The report to the provincial government reflects no public input, and I think Surrey taxpayers and voters will be perplexed by the reduced number of officers. Frankly, this is a far cry from what we need and a demonstration of decisions made behind closed doors.

The report does not say why additional time is needed but states "the comprehensive analysis established that a transition from contracted policing to municipal policing is viable within the proposed timeline" and says accepting applications for staff will begin in 2020. 

McCallum also said a police force would cost Surrey taxpayers slightly more but argued the RCMP would likely increase wages in future years, negating the difference — an assumption the report also makes. 

How can having fewer officers make our city safer when what we need are 300 new officers if you do a side-by-side comparison of Vancouver and Surrey, Annis asked, while lamenting the lack of details in the proposed budget.

In addition, McCallum campaigned extensively on the benefits of moving to an independent police force, he made no guarantees it would result in an increase in officers. 

While Surrey would have less overall police officers than currently budgeted, the report states an independent force would have 16 per cent more frontline patrol officers but a direct comparison to current RCMP staffing levels was not made available. 

"Theres a figure thats been out there that has indicated that we have 843 officers. That is not true," McCallum said. "The current number of officers that are operating in RCMP in Surrey is 792. Those are the only ones that have been funded by previous councils as far as their budgets concerned."

Though exact comparisons to the status quo were unavailable, McCallum focused on the benefits that would come with more frontline officers.

Making staffing numbers a little more complicated, Surrey RCMP also provides 58 of its members to five regional agencies, including the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, the Emergency Response Team, and the Police Dog Service. Sturko noted all the units serve the Surrey community.

"I'm more concerned that we get more feet on the ground out in public, so the public can see our police working in their communities and living in our communities and working with our communities," he said. 

The 51-officer discrepancy between Surrey RCMPs 843 members and the 792 cited in the report might be explained by temporary vacancies at the detachment, including Mounties on sick leave and maternity leave. Sturko said those positions are covered by outside RCMP officers.

"That's far more important to our residents than having management sit behind a desk and never get out and patrol our streets or talk to our residents."

"We're all happy, because they're promising more boots on the street and more officers in the schools," he said.  

Surreys transition report also recommends that the Surrey Police Department continue relying on all five of the same agencies. Its unclear whether the force would also need to put up 58 of its 805 members to do so.

Linda Annis, the lone city councillor not elected with McCallum's Safe Surrey Coalition, argued a change to an independent force needed to approved directly by voters.

In addition, the report estimates between 2019 and 2022, Surrey will spend $11.8 million on recruiting and equipping new staff, $7.6 million on IT systems and facilities, and $400,000 transitioning vehicles. 

"The report to the provincial government reflects no public input, and I think Surrey taxpayers and voters will be perplexed by the reduced number of officers," she said. 

"The proposed Surrey Police Department is a major change and any final plans must be voted on by the taxpayers of Surrey."

The proposed Surrey Police Department would have 805 members, according to a newly released report detailing the citys transition plans – but is that an increase or a decrease over the current RCMP staffing?

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

The new force will cost 10.9 per cent more, with operating costs of $192.5 million projected for 2021

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – The City of Surrey has released its plan for a transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force.

Stolen vehicles are often used in further crimes,” he added. “Through investigating stolen vehicles we are able to stem other offences from occurring in the city.”

The report suggests the Surrey Police force will have funding for 805 officers, compared to the RCMP’s budgeted 843 members. The new force will cost 10.9 per cent more, with operating costs of $192.5 million projected for 2021. The RCMP’s estimated cost in three years is $173.6 million.

As investigators watched, a man got into the truck and drove away. Officers and a police helicopter followed and confirmed the licence plate, establishing the truck as stolen.

“I’ve said it probably a thousand times over the last six months, that it would cost more than ten per cent,” he said at a press conference just after the report’s release on Monday, adding he was elected on the issue and voters knew what to expect.

After parking the truck in the 12200 block of Industrial Road, the suspect was arrested by police, who say they found a loaded sawed-off shotgun and ammunition inside.

“Our people feel unsafe out there, and they want our own Surrey police force. That’s why we ran and that’s why I’m sitting here today.”

Police said a vehicle matching the description of a truck stolen from Vancouver on May 27 was found the following day at a residence in the 14000 block of 106 Avenue.

But with more money, Surrey will have fewer police officers on the street. Instead, the five per cent increase in staff will be filled by more civilian positions and Community Safety Personnel.

McCallum says the new force will save significantly on administration costs. The city currently spends nearly $45 million a year on administration, including $20 million for the RCMP’s E Division headquarters.

The report states Surrey is the only Canadian municipality with over 300,000 residents that doesn’t have a local police force and adopting the model would allow the city to better adapt to the growth it has experienced.

This is approximately how many officers are expected to be hired, trained and deployable by the transition date of April 1, 2021. One month before then, it’s expected they’ll have 306 patrol officers, 33 investigations division officers, an 11-officer mental health team, 12 jail officers, 10 school liaison officers, nine gang officers, two professional standards sergeants and two youth services constables hired.

But Surrey City Councillor Linda Annis says she isn’t confident the transition plan will work, and is calling for a referendum on switching forces.

“I think it will be significantly hard to properly police Surrey. We need more officers, officers cost money, and we can’t do it by reducing the number of officers and increasing the number of employees,” Annis says. “Civilians in community policing will not make people in Surrey feel safer. What they need is more officers on the ground. We need to be looking at getting somewhere in the area of 300 police officers.”

The proposed operating model for the Surrey Police Department is for 805 police officers, 325 civilian positions and 20 community safety personnel, who will do “lower priority, lower risk and lower complexity policing tasks.” The report claims that this will be a five per cent staffing increase, however its figures for how many officers currently work for the RCMP differ from the RCMP’s.

She adds current RCMP officers would have to apply for a job with the new force and it’s not a given they would be able to simply transfer.

The estimated operating budget would be $192.5 million, up 10.9 per cent from the city’s projected annual policing cost for the RCMP. The report also calls for one-time capital and transition costs of $39.2 million for things such as recruitment, administration, new equipment and repainting cars ($400,000 for the latter) amortized over four years, or roughly $10 million a year.

*Says there are 843 Mounties (90% paid by the city, 10% paid by the feds)*58 of these positions go to Lwr. Mainland Integrated Teams *RCMP provides 51 additional spots to cover things like mat/sick leave*City employs 302 muni. workers

“Additionally, Surrey is 28 times larger than the average community policed by the RCMP, making Surrey an outlier among both major Canadian cities and RCMP jurisdictions,” it states. “A police department overseen and managed by a local police board will be more responsive to changing conditions and demands, and will be more representative of the community.”

McCallum confirms that yes, current Surrey RCMP officers would have to apply for the new force, but says he’s already been approached by officers asking when applications will open.

A number of one-time capital investments will be needed for the new municipal department, including $11.8 million to recruit, administer and equip newly hired staff; $7.6 million to transition existing, upgrade and replace IT systems and infrastructure; and, $400,000 to repurpose existing RCMP vehicles. These costs may be amortized over three or more fiscal years.

The publication of the report was stalled in May as the provincial government performed their review. After its release on Monday, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told NEWS 1130 in a statement: Ive said from the beginning that I thought it was important for the report to be made public for the citizens of Surrey. As already stated, we are in the process of analyzing the details within Surreys report and will not be commenting on the individual elements at this time.

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When asked for its response to the report, the Surrey RCMP provided a statement that said, in part: “As the RCMP is a service provider only, we won’t express our opinion or analysis of the City of Surrey’s report, nor is it appropriate for us to publicly discuss the feasibility of the proposed plan,” and “The RCMP will cooperate fully, and provide input when requested by the Province.”

It’s expected that 84 per cent of the Surrey Police Department’s officers will be constables and there will be 16 per cent more front-line patrol officers than there are now with the RCMP. More than 64 per cent of officers will be in uniform “and interact with the public on a regular basis.”

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