The survey, conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights for the National Police Federation, found that 58 per cent of respondents opposed the transition to a municipal force. Forty-four per cent of all respondents said they strongly opposed the plan while 14 per cent said they somewhat opposed.
A majority of respondents also said the Surrey Police Board should disclose budget information and delay implementation of a new Surrey Police Service until after the next municipal election.
The transition failed to top a list of priorities facing the city. Maintaining core services, like fire protection, police, and garbage pickup, as well as supports for vulnerable citizens, were issues that were top of mind for respondents while just 25 per cent listed the police transition of a “top” or “major” priority.
The wheels were set in motion for the new police service in 2018, when Surrey’s new council terminated its contract with the RCMP.
Voters filled all but one council seat with Safe Surrey party members, including McCallum, who ran on making the change.
The new Surrey Police Board held its first meeting last month.
The city is hoping to have the department up and running as early as April of next year, with 805 officers and a total staff of 1,150 people.
A recent survey of Mounties found Surrey’s planned new municipal police department could face significant recruiting challenges.
The survey, which was conducted by RCMP management in July, found just under 14 per cent of Surrey RCMP members are ready to sign up with the new force.
Close to 16 per cent said they’d apply at other police departments in the Lower Mainland, and about 11 per cent said they’d apply with police outside the region.
Note: The survey included a random sample of 806 adults. Pollara says non-probability samples cannot be assigned a margin of error. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.
— With files from Simon Little and The Canadian Press