Surrey residents should decide who polices their city.
Surrey, B.C. (August 23, 2022): Surrey First mayoralty candidate Gordie Hogg wants to hire 300 new officers if he is elected mayor on October 15, and he promises to get voters all the facts about police transition costs so they can make the choice about who should police British Columbia’s second largest city. Hogg said Doug McCallum has not hired a single new police officer since the 2018 election, even as Surrey’s population continues to grow by some 1,000 residents per month.
“Surrey residents deserve to know all of the facts about the police transition, and what it would take to complete the process,” noted Hogg. “They should be the ones deciding who polices their community. At the same time, we need 300 new officers to give police the resources and people they need to keep Surrey safe.”
Hogg wants a new city council to budget some $15 million per year for the next four years to hire new officers, whether it is the RCMP or the SPS.
“Every new officer costs Surrey about $200,000 annually in terms of salary, benefits, pension, and equipment,” added Hogg. “Surrey has 85 per cent of Vancouver’s population and has just 843 officers while Vancouver has more than 1,400. Geographically, Surrey is as big as Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond combined, and our population is continuing to grow. New officers are an absolute must for this city.”
Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, said Surrey is short at least 300 officers, and whether the RCMP or SPS are the police department the city needs more officers.
“The Surrey First approach to policing is based on transparency and community involvement,” said Annis, the only councillor to run on a policing referendum in the 2018 election. “We want our community to know what we need and what it will cost. Doug McCallum and his four councillors have stopped the city from hiring any new officers over the past four years, so we are short boots on the ground. At the same time, the SPS will have fewer officers than we have today, there is no transparency about real costs, the transition is at least a year late, and there is still no guaranteed completion date in sight.”
Hogg said Surrey’s population is closing in on 600,000 people and public safety is critical to every neighbourhood in the city.
“I started my career as a youth probation officer in Whalley,” noted Hogg. “I know firsthand the importance of good public safety programs and the police officers to help make it work. We need some fact-based straight talk about public safety and the price tag that comes with keeping Surrey safe, regardless of the colour of the uniform.
“Like Surrey residents, our Surrey First team wants a safer city, and that starts with a serious conversation with residents and taxpayers about police transition costs. That conversation and those details have been missing for the past four years, and I think Surrey deserves better. At the end of the day, the people of Surrey should determine who polices their community, not nine people on city council.”