How much more are we willing to pay for policing?

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Linda Annis

Councillor Linda Annis wants surrey voters to see full policing report on new force before it goes to Victoria

Surrey: The report on Surrey’s proposed police department is expected this month and Councillor Linda Annis wants Surrey’s taxpayers to see it before it is sent to Victoria.

“I supported the motion to move forward with the idea of our own police department, but I also committed to keeping taxpayers updated and did not agree to a blank cheque when it comes to costs,” said Annis. “I want Surrey voters and taxpayers to see the report before it goes to the provincial government for approval. Surrey taxpayers should approve it before Victoria does. I think that’s the right thing to do because a new police department shouldn’t be created in secret or away from our taxpayers.”

Annis said a comparison between Vancouver and Surrey shows BC’s second largest city probably needs at least 300 new officers, and perhaps more when you consider both population and geography.

“Surrey isn’t just the fastest growing place in the province, we’re also the size of Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby combined,” added Annis. “That geography, from the Fraser River to the Canada-USA border, has to play a role in how many officers Surrey actually needs.”

Annis said if Surrey is to have a municipal police department, salaries alone will costs millions more, and that doesn’t include any additional civilian and administrative staff, equipment, uniforms, training for new members and Surrey’s share of combined regional units and resources.

“The Mayor’s original notion that a local police force was simply going to cost us 10 per cent more isn’t realistic,” explained Annis. “The people of Surrey need to know what they’re buying and that starts by sharing the policing report with our taxpayers and asking how much more are you willing to pay? Are people willing to pay $100, $300, $700 more per year? Having our own police department is the biggest decision we’ll make in a generation and it’s going to be with us for decades. So, we need to get it right and people need to know the facts. Anything less than full transparency is no way to begin a new police force in Surrey. Rushing the report to Victoria and bypassing our taxpayers is not something I voted for and it’s not why we were elected. If we’re not prepared to share the report and its details with our citizens that should be a red flag to everyone that there is something seriously wrong with the process, the report or the idea of our own force.”