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Surrey’s top cop says divisive new budget will have ‘detrimental effect’ on policing

WATCH: Surrey's "top cop" calls out mayor on city's budget

Surrey’s top cop had some choice words for his city’s mayor and council, after they narrowly passed a budget with no increased funding for police officers or firefighters Monday night.

“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,” said Assistant Commissioner and Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP Dwayne McDonald in a statement.

READ MORE: Surrey approves divisive budget after charged public meeting

“As our staffing levels remain stagnant and Surrey’s population increases, demand for our police service continues to grow.”

Fireworks over Surrey budget
Fireworks over Surrey budget

McDonald said he’s previously had a request for 12 additional officers dismissed by the city, who he said made it clear there would be no new funding as Surrey prepares to move to a municipal police force.

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McDonald said Surrey has seen a three per cent hike in calls for service and a 3.6 per cent hike in files opened in 2019.

READ MORE: War of words breaks out as Surrey mayor claims ‘red tape’ holding up new police force

That works out to an additional 463 calls and 585 files per month, said McDonald.

“This disparity between resources and calls for service means we will have to review the services we provide,” said McDonald.

“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.”

Surrey RCMP top cop blasts critics
Surrey RCMP top cop blasts critics

Surrey council approved the new budget Monday night in a vote of 5-4.

Mayor Doug McCallum said he’d spoken to the leadership of both the Surrey RCMP and Surrey Fire Service, who told him they could make current staffing levels work.

“Both of them assured me that we could get by this year and continue to make our city safe by the same number of officers we have now,” said McCallum.

READ MORE: ‘I am going to snap’: Surrey’s top cop lashes out at RCMP critics in awards speech

But the budget drew plenty of criticism, both from protesters outside the meeting and from members of council like Jack Hundial.

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“I think it speaks for itself,” said Hundai.

“You have so much of the public showing up, showing so much opposition to this police force, and I think this is where people like [Public Safety Minister Mike] Farnworth really need to get involved and get involved in what’s going on on the ground.”

Surrey is working to move to a municipal force by 2021.