Province says RCMP should leave Surrey, B.C., to local force for safety reasons

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VICTORIA — The British Columbia government is recommending the City of Surrey continue its transition to the Surrey Police Service, despite the wishes of the new council to revert to the RCMP.

The government cites RCMP staff vacancies as one of the key reasons for not wanting the city to keep the Mounties, saying it ensures public safety for the people of Surrey and throughout B.C.

The government says the decision is not binding, but it has placed several mandatory conditions on the city should it decide to retain the RCMP.

It says it will offer financial assistance for the transition to the municipal police force to protect Surrey taxpayers.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says in a statement that he agreed with a systematic review by the director of police services that the best way to achieve public safety in B.C. is with the local police force.

The Mounties have about 1,500 vacancies in the province and if Surrey goes back to the RCMP, the province says that would worsen the staffing problems faced by municipalities and Indigenous communities trying to fill those positions.

It says filling those vacancies is the responsibility of the federal government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press