SURREY, B.C. – At a recent legislative committee to discuss B.C.’s Main Estimates, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth confirmed that current provincial Surrey Police Service (SPS) transition costs of an estimated $600,000 will rise by roughly 30 percent to an estimated $840,000 in 2021-2022.

Additionally, separate from Estimates, SPS will also require training of new recruits through the provincially funded Justice Institute of B.C., which will require an estimated additional $740,000[1] in provincial funding to meet SPS’ recruiting demand.

These new cost increases are in addition to a request made earlier this year by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner for an increase of $1.4 million in operating and $112,000 capital funding to support the Surrey Police Service’s transition oversight responsibilities.

This provincial funding increase for 2022, to the tune of $3.08 million, means that all British Columbian taxpayers will fund the new Surrey Police Services. Surrey residents, who area already facing a reported 17 per cent to 86 per cent property tax increases, will also see their provincial tax dollars funding this unpopular and increasingly expensive new police service.

“For nearly two years, we have watched as Mayor McCallum and his majority on Council aggressively push for a transition to a new police service while remaining obtuse about snowballing costs,” said Brian Sauvé, President, National Police Federation. “The more we learn about this unwanted and unpopular transition, the more it costs all British Columbia taxpayers, and in particular Surrey residents who bear the highest fiscal burden.”

There appears to be a clear disconnect between campaign promises to bring in a new police service and the unexpected fiscal reality of building such an organization from scratch. Worse yet, the lack of clarity and accountability is insulting to Surrey voters who may have supported the idea in principle, but who may not be willing to pay for more than they were promised they would.  

“The pace and amount of funding just keeps growing, and at this rate, future annual increases in provincial funding would see operating costs soar well in the millions of dollars, all footed by hardworking B.C. taxpayers,” added Sauvé.

About the National Police Federation:

The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP Members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada; the second largest in North America and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members.

The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by focusing on increasing resources, equipment, training, and other supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and supports for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.

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[1] The Surrey Policing Transition Report notes the SPS will contribute to a 30% annual on-going increase of recruit training. JIBC’s 2020 Police Academy provincial funding was $2,468,093. A 30% increase to meet SPS demand equates to an additional $740,000 annually.