A new report from the City of Surrey shows the UCP government “has grossly underestimated” the cost of a provincial police force, claims Alberta’s NDP.
The recent report from the British Columbia city concluded that, once fully implemented, a municipal police force would cost $37.2 million per year, or 21.3 per cent, more than keeping the RCMP.
To pay for the transition, Surrey city council has said they would need to increase residential property taxes by 55 per cent. However, Surrey council voted to stop the transition due to the high cost.
The UCP government has indicated it wants to scrap the RCMP and create an Alberta provincial police force. A 2021 report found there would be $366 million in transition costs along with the loss of $170 million in annual funding from the federal government if Alberta got rid of the RCMP.
But the report indicated it would cost $7 million less per year to operate an Alberta Provincial Police Service compared to the RCMP.
The NDP stated that if the example of Surrey is applied to Alberta, a 21 per cent increase to the cost of operating a provincial police force means Albertans would have to pay an extra $157 million per year for the police force, along with the transition costs and loss of federal funding.
The Surrey report comes a couple of years after the City of Red Deer concluded in a study that a municipal police force would cost an additional $13.5 million per year, not including start-up costs. Red Deer council decided against developing a city police force because it would be a waste of property taxpayers’ money.