An open letter to Premier John Horgan:
The transition to a local city police force is not only going to be very expensive, but very complicated. First, the RCMP comes as a complete package, fully trained and equipped, including vehicles.
Second, they supply forensic and crime-detection laboratory services, along with the finest dog services.
The city only has to provide the detachment facilities and city employees for administration functions.
Third, 10 per cent of the cost of the contract for the RCMP is subsidized by Ottawa, which will be gone.
It is sad that Surrey will lose the most well-known symbol of Canada, the red serge – known and respected everywhere in the world – because of your decision to arbitrarily force a city police department on the citizens of Surrey without a referendum or considering the ramifications.
We are going to have a smaller police force, according to the mayor, at a time when we need more police, as gun crime is not declining. Also, it is a national disgrace that more than 10,000 – mainly young – Canadians have died from opioid overdoses in recent years. How will a smaller police force cope with that continuing problem?
Traffic density and the resultant bad driving in Surrey gets worse by the day, due to successive councils approving ultra-high-density housing. There are not enough police available to tend to this problem today but in the future there will be none. Needless to say, local hospitals and the fire department will be hard-pressed to cope with more numerous motor vehicle accident victims.
It’s been stated that almost all other city programs will be reduced or eliminated to cover the increased cost of the smaller police force. Special education needs, cultural events – all out the window.
Municipal taxes will definitely be increased, which for retired people like myself, living on a fixed income, will be another burden to our everyday living costs.
Stress levels in police forces everywhere are high at the best of times. When Surrey police are under the mayor, who will also be the chief of the police board, stress levels will be higher and I would not be surprised if they led to a high turnover at all levels.
Remember the words of Bea Arthur in ‘Maude,’ “God’ll get you for that!” and, hopefully, it will be at the next provincial election – or sooner.
More than anything, your and your party’s actions in this matter show that you have ignored one of the fundamental precepts of democracy: the right of citizens to vote.
George Oliver, South Surrey