Surrey votes to give Mounties two years notice

Ben Ronald / November 6, 2018

Surrey currently rents policing forces from the RCMP on a contract-basis.

Surrey’s new city council has voted unanimously to end its contract with RCMP and create its own municipal police force.

Mayor Doug McCallum, who campaigned on a promise to do so, put forward the motion at the council’s first meeting. It passed with support from all nine members of council.

The City’s contract with the RCMP runs until 2032, but can be terminated by either party so long as two years notice is given.

Dr. Rick Parent from the School of Criminology at SFU said that while RCMP provides good value for the price they charge, some local cities with their own municipal forces report high satisfaction with their policing services.

West Vancouver and Delta score the lowest in crime rates and have the highest in public approval of their police services (…) for many decades. Both cities employ their own long established municipal police forces with the public having no desire for the cheaper RCMP contract version.” – Rick Parent, Associate Professor of Criminology

Surrey would be the sixth Metro Vancouver city to have its own municipal policing force, as opposed to relying on the RCMP to provide policing services.

Vancouver, West Vancouver, Port Moody, Delta and New Westminster have all had city-specific police forces for decades, which proves to be a more expensive option on a per capita basis when compared to contracting out to RCMP.

Surrey spends about 60% less than Vancouver when it comes to policing services, despite its population being only 20% lower than Vancouver’s.

Map of cities in Metro Vancouver by policing force:

Red = RCMP and Blue = Municipal Police Force

Despite the higher costs that come with a city having a municipal force, Parent said he believes that it is the better choice in the long run.

He added that the extra money spent produces better results thanks in part to having a product that is tailored to the community it serves.

The switch to a municipal force will mean that Burnaby will take over the title of largest municipality in B.C. without its own municipal force.

With files from Jenny Cameron and Michael Beck