The new Surrey City Council has approved a 2015 budget that will include adding 100 RCMP officers to the local force.
This means the number of Surrey RCMP officers will increase from 703 to 803 – a 14 per cent boost. In addition to new officers, 25 municipal support staff will be added for the RCMP.
The expansion is in response to growing public concerns over crime and safety in the municipality, especially during the recent municipal election. It is also part of a promise made in April by then-Mayor Dianne Watts to increase the size of the force in response to the death of hockey mom Julie Paskall.
“As the second largest city in British Columbia, and with one-third of our population under the age of 19, investing in infrastructure for our youth is a top priority,” said Mayor Linda Hepner in a statement. “The hiring of additional RCMP Officers will bring us in line with the recommendations of two independent research projects while still maintaining the lowest taxes per capita and spending in the region.”
However, it is expected that the additions to the police force will take up to five years to implement.
During the same meeting, Surrey City Council also approved $205-million in capital expenditures over five years. This includes building a new recreation and cultural facility in Clayton, a second phase of the Surrey Museum, four new ice sheets across the municipality, and renovations to the City Centre Artist Space.
These capital projects will be funded through a new flat $100 Recreation and Culture Parcel Tax that will generate $16-million per year towards such initiatives in Surrey.
Feature Image: RCMP