A reduction in officers is just the tip of the iceberg in the city’s policing plan to dump the RCMP, according to Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis who has taken a closer look at the report.
If the city were to follow the model of neighbouring municipal contracts, Surrey police would also have fewer cars on the road, she said.
“Using the municipal policing contract model means two officers per car,” Annis said in a media release.
“A Surrey Police Department would have 59 cars on the road at any given time, compared to 65 cars with the current RCMP, in a city the size of Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond combined. We need more police on the road, not fewer.”
Annis said she would also rather have more police officers, instead of the 20 unarmed community safety members recommended in the report.
She added that community safety officers are not sworn police officers. They are not armed, and do not have the same level of training required of a sworn officer, said Annis. Their job is, instead, customer service, community outreach and quality of life issues.
“I would say frankly, if the police officer is dealing with quality of life issues such as domestic violence or mental health issues, you want to make sure you have a fully skilled member,” Annis said.
Annis pointed to what she calls other troubling concerns, such as calling on neighbouring forces to borrow officers during the police transition, saying the city hasn’t approached other cities to see if that kind of help is possible.
Annis called the report vague, and said she prefers that the city holds a referendum before making any final policing plans.
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