Blue Line

City of Surrey releases results from new police transition survey

January 6, 2024  By City of Surrey

Jan. 6, 2023, Surrey, B.C. – The City of Surrey has commissioned a Police Transition Survey, conducted by polling firm Leger, which found that 29 per cent Surrey residents want to continue with the Surrey Police Service (SPS) transition, while 46 per cent want to retain the RCMP.

Support for Surrey RCMP increased after additional information was presented in the survey, with 64 per cent preferring to continue with the current Surrey RCMP, versus 22 per cent of respondents supporting the transition to the SPS. The survey also found that 73 per cent of respondents agree that the provincial government should provide the full difference in funding since it was the province’s unilateral decision to continue the transition.

“This survey makes it clear that the majority of citizens in Surrey do not want to bear the burden of the police transition and prefer to continue with the RCMP,” said Mayor Brenda Locke. “That is why we have been doing everything we can to ensure residents are made aware of the significant cost and implications of this unnecessary transition that is being imposed on Surrey taxpayers by the NDP government. Our number one concern is the cost of this expensive police transition on Surrey taxpayers that will run into the hundreds of millions. Given the economic pressures that are being felt across the board today, a double-digit tax increase is the last thing Surrey residents need. This latest research shows us there is strong support for keeping the RCMP, and that the vast majority of residents disapprove of how the Province has handled the policing transition.”

Other poll findings included:

  • 72 per cent of residents feel NDP MLAs from Surrey should be advocating for the provincial government to take full financial responsibility for its decision to impose the Surrey Police Service over the objections of Surrey’s elected mayor and council.
  • 67 per cent of residents feel that the SPS has not hired an adequate number of frontline officers, that keeping Surrey RCMP will help protect City funding/keep taxes affordable, it will add $464 million in the next 10 years, and officials elected in 2022 voted to retain the RCMP.
  • 60 per cent of residents agree that City is justified in launching a legal challenge and communications.
  • 61 per cent feel the transition will mean less funds for other local priorities and that the $150M the province offered is not enough, and feel a massive tax hike will be required to pay for it.
  • Prior to learning the information in the survey, 46 per cent would prefer to continue with the RCMP, versus 29 per cent in favour of continuing the transition.
  • After being presented with additional information regarding the transition, support for retaining the RCMP increased by 18 points to 64 per cent. Support for the RCMP appears to be drawn from those who were originally unsure (down 11 points) along with changing the minds of those who originally said they would prefer transitioning to a new Surrey Police Service where support for the transition went down seven points to 22 per cent.

Over 500 surveys were collected by Leger between Nov. 3 and Dec. 13, 2023, with a sampling accuracy of +/-4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The data has been weighted to ensure it reflects the age, gender, ethnic, mother tongue and geographic population distributions in the City of Surrey according to Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census.

The 2023 City of Surrey Police Transition Survey can be viewed here.

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