Less than 40% of people living in Surrey are in favour of the transition from the city’s RCMP to a local police force, according to a new survey.
Of the 400 local residents that participated, the majority held a positive opinion when asked about the RCMP — 44% said their opinion was “very favourable” and 37% said that their opinion was “somewhat favourable.”
When asked about replacing the RCMP with a Surrey Police Force (SPF), most respondents were against it, with a combined 54% saying that they “strongly oppose” or “somewhat oppose” the idea.
A combined 38% said that they either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the idea.
As an alternative, more than six-in-10 participants said that they were in favour of keeping the RCMP in Surrey, but creating a local police board (32% strongly support; 32% somewhat support).
“The survey results prove that there is a disconnect between Mayor Doug McCallum and the residents of Surrey,” reads an emailed statement sent Surrey Councillors Brenda Locke and Jack Hundial. “The facts should be clear — Surrey should not be taking unnecessary risks with public safety.”
The statement also favours adding a local police board and notes that it can be done in a short timeframe.
“Adding a local police board and increasing the number of officers is the fastest and most effective way to address the public safety concerns in Surrey.”
Last August, the BC provincial government approved Surrey’s plan to establish a municipal police force.
The transitional plan stresses that a local police force will be “more responsive” to the changing conditions and demands of the community. It’s also noted that of the 19 Canadian population centres with more than 300,000 residents, Surrey is the only community that doesn’t have a local police force.
-with files from Simran Singh