Surrey RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey’s top cop slams city budget that funds new police force, but not more officers

Surrey’s 2020 budget doesn’t allow for additional police for the second year in a row

Surrey RCMP’s top cop Dwayne McDonald says Surrey’s budget approved Monday night will have a “detrimental effect” on policing “and on the health and wellness of our members and municipal support staff.”

Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald noted the city’s 2020 budget doesn’t allow for additional police for the second year in a row.

“The City of Surrey previously denied my request for 12 additional officers for 2019 and it was made clear to me that any additional requests for police resources would not be entertained while the city is petitioning the province for a municipal police force,” McDonald said. “As our staffing levels remain stagnant and Surrey’s population increases, demand for our police service continues to grow.”

READ ALSO: ‘A disaster’: Surrey council OKs budget despite deemed ‘risk’ to public safety

McDonald, who has typically been reserved in his public response to the city’s plan to replace the Surrey RCMP with a city police force, noted that the Surrey RCMP has experienced a three per cent increase in calls for service in 2019, and a 3.6 per cent increase in files. The impact of these increases, he says, means the Mounties are dealing with an average of 463 more calls per months and 585 more files each month.

“This disparity between resources and calls for service means we will have to review the services we provide. Unfortunately, this may necessitate the redeployment of personnel from proactive and community based programs, which we know have a positive impact on crime prevention, to our essential service, frontline policing.”

At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5th, 2018 it served notice to the provincial and federal governments it is ending its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force.

Wally Oppal, a former B.C. attorney general, is heading the provincial team tasked with overseeing the transition from the Surrey RCMP to a new city force after the NDP government gave the city approval to establish its own police force in August.

“The fundamental issue for us is to make sure the people of Surrey have a policing system that leaves them safe and secure,” Oppal told the Now-Leader in November. “During the transition period we want to make sure nothing falls between the cracks.”

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum could not be immediately reached for comment.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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