After an election campaign on the subject, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum did what he said he would – he had made a motion at his very first council meeting that would pave the way for Surrey to build his own independent police force.

Now comes the tricky part: it is realized on time and within the budget.

Here are four big questions in which Surrey gets rid of the RCMP and sets up her own troupe to answer.

1. Will it happen in 2 years?

McCallum has repeatedly said that an independent police force could be operational in early 2021.

"We will be able to work efficiently within two years, it's fast, but we're on a fast track in the city," he said at a press conference following the Council's vote.

The RCMP must be fired from a city for at least two years to leave a department, and the Monday request only requires employees to start this process.

More specifically, switching to an independent police requires the approval of the provincial government – and there is no guarantee that such an aggressive schedule will be approved.

"They need to have a transition plan in terms of duration, in many ways, it's up to them to get the information they need and put the plan together," said Attorney General Mike Farnworth.

"However, it will be a long time before a plan is approved, and there is a lot to do, the current plan remains in place."

Doug McCallum is sworn in on November 5, 2018 at a ceremony in the town hall as mayor of Surrey. (Colin Fode / CBC)

2. Where do the officers come from?

There are 835 RCMP officials in Surrey, and all must be replaced if an independent police force is created.

McCallum, however, believes that this will be relatively straightforward and claims that about 50 percent of Surrey officers said they were leaving the RCMP and deploying the new local force, with the remainder coming from other Metro Vancouver police units.

"Many people who work, especially in Vancouver and West Vancouver, have indicated that they would like to work with the Surrey Police Department because their families live in Surrey and they want to be much closer to their families," he said.

3. How much is it?

According to the provincial government, the total cost of police in Surrey in 2016 was $ 147 million.

This is the second highest number in British Columbia – but on a per capita basis, it is much lower than in any major B.C. City, which has an independent police.

One of the reasons for the discrepancy in costs is that salaries are generally higher for independent police forces.

In addition, the federal government assumes 10 percent of the cost of a community that wants to have an RCMP department.

"I'm a realist, there must be other costs," said McCallum. He believes that Surrey will save on administrative costs and that the RCMP will form a union over the next two years, making the issue of salary increases irrelevant.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the provincial government will not sign that an independent police will be allowed until a detailed plan is agreed. (Mike McArthur / CBC)

However, many police experts are skeptical. Surrey will be able to keep his surveillance budget in the range of 10 to 15 percent of the RCMP.

Absolutely, are they underpaid? Absolutely, so they do not necessarily have to look at these two things, which means dollars, I do not know where Doug McCallum comes from, "said Eddie MacDonald, co-chair of the National Police Federation.

4. What will the transitional period look like?

This is the area in which McCallum has provided the fewest details so far: who will control the transition, how much community consultation will take place, and what values ​​will guide the process.

"We [don’t] have a clear sense of the strategic direction of what a city troop would police. What priorities should be. The management structure should be. His responsibility framework should be, "said Wade Deisman, professor of criminology at Kwantlen University.

He said that in the coming weeks he will examine how open McCallum is to appoint experts for the transition – and in the longer term, if the first police chief has a background for a start-up organization.

"I admire the ambitions of the mayors, and it's thanks to him that he wanted to accelerate them," said Deisman.

"But if you are not careful and correct the first time, you will multiply the mistakes you made tenfold."


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