Surrey targets April 2021 start date for independent police force

The City of Surrey is proposing an April 1, 2021 start date for an independent police force.

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”.

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. 

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.

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.”