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War of words heats up as Surrey's mayor calls 'hidden' document a 'bombshell'


The ongoing battle over policing in Surrey took another turn Wednesday, as Mayor Brenda Locke shared details of an independent report she said shows a municipal police force would cost $75 million a year more than the RCMP.

The report, by accounting firm Deloitte, was commissioned by the province and completed a year ago. Locke says she received the report as an exhibit forming part of an upcoming court case, adding it sets out several cost scenarios depending on different numbers of Surrey Police Service members versus RCMP.

“This imposed transition will cost Surrey taxpayers nearly three quarters of a billion dollars over the next 10 years,” Locke told reporters at a news conference.

The scenario with the $75 million difference is driven largely by higher Surrey police salaries than RCMP and is based on a comparison of 900 Surrey police officers and 734 Mounties.

Locke says requirements for two Surrey cops per car mean more SPS officers would indeed be needed than RCMP, but still called the data “surreal.”

“It is clear that the city and Surrey taxpayers have been deliberately misled,” said Locke “It is clear that there has been a complete lack of transparency throughout this process.”

On the other hand, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth didn’t mince words about Locke’s analysis of the report.

“To put it bluntly, (it’s) ingenuity on a massive scale,” Farnworth said Wednesday. “It’s absolutely disingenuous, and it's completely false. If you go back to April 23 of last year, I referenced this report in a technical briefing for the media. It was absolutely clear that we were basing everything on the authorized strength of the RCMP.”

Farnworth said the authorized number of officers in Surrey is 843. He acknowledged SPS officers have higher salaries, but disputes more police would be needed in Surrey than with the RCMP. Farnworth cited a figure of $30 million a year more for SPS, not $75 million. He called comparing the two different numbers of officers wrong and misleading.

“To suggest that that is the model and that that is the basis for costs is simply utterly, completely false,” said Farnworth.

This latest chapter in the saga came one day after Farnworth announced Nov. 29 is the date the SPS will officially take over the reins in Surrey.

The two sides will meet in court next Monday, as the city takes the next steps in its legal action to overturn the provincial order requiring the transition. 


A previous version of this story misquoted Mayor Brenda Locke, who said the transition "will cost Surrey taxpayers nearly three quarters of a billion dollars over the next 10 years." The story also said the authorized number of SPS officers was 834, instead of the correct figure of 843. Top Stories

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