Long-awaited Surrey Policing Transition Report released

The public is finally getting a look at the highly-anticipated report into transitioning the Surrey RCMP to a municipal Surrey Police Department (SPD).

Former attorney general and judge Wally Oppal chaired the committee that produced the report, which the province approved in February.

According to the 455-page document released Wednesday, Surrey’s new force could be up and running by April 1, 2021 at the earliest, with 805 officers and a total staff of 1,150 people.

The report highlights six “major issues” related to the transition.

Those include addressing pensions and contracts, recruitment, training, information management and technology, investigative continuity and business impacts.

The report found that “the establishment of the SPD, while ambitious, is also achievable if assumptions and risks noted in the report can be successfully addressed and managed.”

The report says the transition would provide for a five-per cent increase in staff, 16-per cent increase in front line patrol officers, and a 29-per cent increase in school liaison and youth officers.

Taking 2021 as a test case, the report looked at the existing RCMP model and imagined it compared to a purely municipal model from a cost perspective.

The report says Surrey would benefit from an annual savings of about $2.7 million achieved by no longer having to pay a portion of RCMP recruiting and training costs.

But the report found the SPD would result in a net increased cost to the city of about $18.9 million, after the loss of federal subsidies and provincial tax exemptions granted to the RCMP.

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