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Majority of Surrey residents oppose mayor’s plan to to replace RCMP: poll

Click to play video 'New survey says more than half of Surrey residents opposed switching from RCMP to municipal police force' New survey says more than half of Surrey residents opposed switching from RCMP to municipal police force
A new survey commissioned by the RCMP finds that more than half of Surrey residents opposed Mayor Doug McCallum's plan to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force, and a large majority want a referendum on the plan. Ted Chernecki reports. – Sep 2, 2020
A majority of Surrey residents oppose Mayor Doug McCallum’s plan to replace the largest RCMP detachment in Canada with a municipal force, a new survey has found.

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.

Click to play video 'New survey finds support to pause Surrey police transition' New survey finds support to pause Surrey police transition
New survey finds support to pause Surrey police transition – May 4, 2020
More than three-quarters of respondents said they either were satisfied with the RCMP or have concerns about the RCMP, but would support retaining them if significant improvements were made.
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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.

Click to play video 'Highly anticipated Surrey police transition report released' Highly anticipated Surrey police transition report released
Highly anticipated Surrey police transition report released – Mar 11, 2020

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.

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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.

Read more: Long-awaited Surrey Policing Transition Report released

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.

Read more: Just 14% of Surrey RCMP members plan to sign up with new municipal force: survey

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