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Doug McCallum’s my-way-or-the-highway approach and Brenda Locke’s screeching halt approach don’t help taxpayers

Surrey, B.C. (August 10, 2021): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says whether it’s the RCMP or SPS, the City of Surrey needs 300 new officers and the “truth about what real public safety actually costs in a growing city like ours.”

Annis said Doug McCallum’s complete lack of public consultation and financial transparency around the SPS and Brenda Locke’s knee-jerk promise to bring the police transition to a “screeching halt” have left Surrey residents and taxpayers confused and nervous about the volatility and costs associated with public safety in BC’s second largest city.

“Surrey residents should be allowed to decide who is going to police our city, and the fact that Doug McCallum never bothered to do that demonstrates his selfish my-way-or-the-highway approach to everything at city hall,” said Annis. “Meanwhile, Brenda Locke’s ‘screeching halt’ approach to police transition doesn’t take into account the untold millions that have been spent to date and the millions more that will be spent over the next 12 months. This sort of arbitrary decision-making by Doug McCallum and Brenda Locke makes taxpayers nervous for their wallets and the safety of our city, when we should always be completely transparent with our residents.”

Annis said she wants to see 300 new officers in Surrey over the next three years and city council should budget $20 million per year to do that, whether it is the RCMP or the SPS.  Annis, the only councillor to run on a policing referendum in the 2018 civic election, said every new officer costs Surrey about $200,000 annually in terms of salary, benefits, pension, and equipment. Currently, Surrey, with 85 per cent of Vancouver’s population, has just 843 officers while Vancouver has more than 1,400.

“Over three years, the cost to hire these new officers would be $60 million, which works out to an additional cost to our community of $100 per person, or less than $3 per month to get us the policing we actually need,” explained Annis. “We pay three times that for a Netflix subscription.”

“I’ve been executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers for the past 10 years and I’ve worked with every police department in the Lower Mainland. It’s clear that our city is short at least 300 officers, but there’s a price tag that comes with those new hires and I want our citizens to know what we need and what it will cost,” explained Annis.

“Doug McCallum hasn’t allowed the city to hire any new officers in the past three years, even though we’re continuing to grow by more than 10,000 residents annually. So, we’re already behind and his new police department will actually have fewer officers than we have today, but he still won’t say what it’s really costing. At the same time, Brenda Locke says she wants to bring things to a screeching halt, which is a big red flag for me and every other taxpayer. Frankly, we need to take ego and politics out of the policing equation and give our citizens the facts and figures and confidence they need to make good decisions going forward.”

Annis said Surrey is “closing in on a population of 600,000” and there’s no question that “public safety is absolutely critical” to everyone who lives here.

“So let’s put Surrey first by having a serious conversation, without the hype or hysteria or political pandering,” added Annis. “We need some straight talk about public safety and the price tag that comes with it, regardless of the colour of the uniform.

“The fact is public safety is expensive. We all want a safer city, and that means we need to have a serious, fact-based conversation with our Surrey residents and taxpayers. We all want to understand what’s needed and why, and how we’re going to pay for things. Right now, we get nothing of any substance from Doug McCallum, and Brenda Locke wants to shut it all down immediately. I think Surrey deserves better, and it starts by knowing the facts, and parking emotions, ego and politics on the sidelines. Our taxpayers are adults and they deserve an adult conversation about something as essential and pricey as policing.”


Media contact:
Councillor Linda Annis