With suggestions that Kamloops should consider its own municipal police force, the following statement from RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald on Tuesday (Dec. 3, 2019) is of interest. Surrey is cancelling its contract with the RCMP and establishing its own force.
As Surrey’s Mayor and Council move towards final adoption of a 2020 budget that does not allow for any additional police resources for the second year in a row, it is important that we acknowledge the detrimental effect this will have on our service delivery model and on the health and wellness of our members and municipal support staff.
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 service.
As our staffing levels remain stagnant and Surrey’s population increases, demand for our police service continues to grow. This year, the Surrey RCMP has experienced a 3% increase in calls for service and a 3.6% increase in files. These increases equate to an average of 463 more calls per month and 585 additional files per 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.
As outlined in our ten-year crime profile, crime in Surrey has been trending downward since 2014, and the overall crime rate has been trending down over the last decade. In 2018, Surrey’s Violent Crime Severity Index reached a ten-year low. However, we are seeing some minor increases in crime this year and, in the long term, we cannot expect to see crime go down in a growing city without relative increases to police resources.
The Surrey RCMP is committed to public safety, but also to the safety and wellness of our officers and employees. The senior leadership team will continue to advocate for adequate resources, even as the City of Surrey and Province of BC work to determine the future of policing in Surrey.
I commend the Surrey RCMP police officers and support staff who have continued to provide excellent police services to the city during this challenging period. To the residents of Surrey, the safety of your homes, your families, and your neighbourhoods remains our top priority, as always.