On Dec. 4, the chickens from Mayor Doug McCallum’s misguided plan to create a new municipal police force for Surrey started coming home to roost.
Policing is costly. Funds for policing already make up at least 20 per cent of Surrey’s budget. That will only grow under McCallum’s plan. So the money will be taken from somewhere.
McCallum’s announced program halts geared toward gutting the budget to the tune of $135.6-million in costs. Notably this is exactly a mid-level estimate of the cost involved in moving to the new municipal force that McCallum was elected on and is committed to pursuing.
Decades of criminological research has shown conclusively that shared community resources, spaces and activities do more to reduce social conflict and social harms across cities than do police and policing. Yet McCallum and the Safe Surrey Coalition would pursue the futile and destructive course of killing community projects to fund more and more police and more extensive policing.
Single-minded approaches that privilege policing over community supports and services will only make things worse. But that is the path McCallum and Safe Surrey have committed to.
These cuts are a glimpse of the present and future of such commitments.
Jeff Shantz, Surrey