From new cops to cruisers, what will it take to replace the Surrey RCMP?
Published Thursday, November 8, 2018 5:30PM PST
There's new skepticism about the plan by Surrey's new mayor to fire the RCMP and set up a city police force.
Doug McCallum was elected on the promise, and he fully intends to follow through, but it's becoming clear that turning the idea into reality could be extremely complicated.
Questions include how many Mounties would move to the municipal force, and who would get which of the existing assets.
"It's an enormous job," Simon Fraser University criminologist Rob Gordon told CTV News on Thursday.
He says Surrey will have a tough time just filling the policing positions.
Right now there are more than 830 members of the RCMP working in Surrey – positions that would have to be filled. Gordon doubts police officers will want to leave forces such as Vancouver and West Vancouver to work in Surrey, despite the mayor's claims he's already had interest.
"It's not a terribly desirable place to go. It's a troubled municipality in many ways," Gordon said.
But McCallum is also confident many current Mounties will make the switch, saying Monday, "We probably would get anywhere from 50 to 60 per cent of the officers that are currently in the RCMP in Surrey."
When it comes to new hires, the Justice Institute of British Columbia said it will "do whatever is necessary to accommodate the additional demand."
JIBC currently trains little more than 100 recruits a year, but in a statement said that in the event of a new force it would try to expand its training capacity. The institute has taken on more recruits in the past, including training 210 in one year ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
However, CEO Michel Tarko said in an email, the number is dependent on the hiring municipal police departments do, as the training program is post-employment. Only those already hired and sworn in are trained.
"The issue is replacing experienced police officers – experienced with work in a municipality like Surrey," Gordon said.
He says the city may need to turn to places like the U.K. to recruit.
At the same time, there's the question of assets.
The mayor says Surrey already owns the RCMP buildings along with the hundreds of police cruisers which would need repainting.
When it comes to the thousands of pieces of police equipment, including weapons and computers, CTV News reached out to the city and the province but got no answers.
The province said the issues would have to be discussed in Surrey's transitional plan.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Michele Brunoro