Surrey B.C. (April 29, 2022): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says while a discussion about a provincial or regional police force to replace the RCMP in British Columbia might make sense to some, Surrey’s experience is a textbook case of how not to handle a transition.
Annis says the RCMP are a bargain compared to other municipal forces and any potential change should start with giving British Columbia a say, something missing in the Surrey transition.
“Doug McCallum’s police transition is late, divisive, over budget and completely lacking in any sort of transparency, says Annis. “Any discussion of a provincial or regional police force only has to look at what’s happening in our city to see the challenges and issues facing such a massive change and disruption. We are a great case study on what not to do.”
“When you make an arbitrary change and sideline the community, you get the problems we have in Surrey,” notes Annis. “Our residents were never given their say, the cost of transition is completely hidden, and there’s never been any real reason for making the switch. So any attempt to make a change provincially, or even across the region, needs community input first. That’s something that has never happened in Surrey and it shows.”
Annis says she expects the transition to the Surrey Police Service to be over $200 million, but the community will have no way of knowing until they elect a new mayor and council in October.
“Our situation in Surrey should be a lesson to the provincial government if and when they start considering regional police forces or a new provincial police department. When it comes to police transitioning, we are the poster child on how to do things badly and it starts by ignoring the taxpayers.”