Politicians are divided in Surrey over whether to hold a referendum on the future of policing in the city.
On Monday, Surrey city councillor and mayoral candidate Tom Gill proposed holding a vote on whether the city needs its own municipal police force, or if the RCMP is enough.
But councillor Bruce Hayne says there’s no need for a costly referendum to see how the public feels.
LISTEN: Surrey councillor and mayoral candidate Tom Gill says more ‘boots on the ground’ may not be the answer to the city’s gang problem
Calling it a “bad idea,” Hayne said all that’s needed is “consultation.”
“People elect governments at all three levels to make decisions and make tough decisions,” he said.
“Once the facts are in and people have been consulted, then I think it’s up to government to make that decision.”
Hayne said that moving to a municipal force would take years and cost a bundle.
“It’s not just the cost of the police officers, it’s unfunded pension liabilities, it’s capital costs to buy back assets from Ottawa and so on. It’s a very complicated and expensive process,” he said.
But he admits there’s no doubt the city needs more officers.
“We do need more and we need to listen to our officer in charge, and we need to work with the RCMP to deliver the compliment they need to get the job done.”
Right now Surrey has 835 RCMP officers working in the city.
Vancouver has over 1,400 and a quarter of the land base that Surrey has.
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