Policing Dispute Escalates as Surrey Police Service Faces Payroll Crisis

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In another controversy between the Surrey Police Service (SPS) and the City of Surrey, tensions have flared over the refusal to pay salaries for 10 new recruits. The Surrey Police Union officials, in a series of media interviews, have blasted the city’s decision.
Ryan Buhrig, the spokesperson for the union, disclosed to CTV News that the city, through a letter dated December 19th, 2023, notified the union of its decision to exclude the new recruits from the payroll system. This has left the officers without pay and without access to essential medical benefits.
However, the city defended its stance, claiming that the SPS had significantly exceeded its budget. Peter German, an advisor to the city, stated, “The Surrey Police Service had a budget of $48.7 million for 2023, and they’ve exceeded it by about $23 million, now totaling $75 million.”
City Councillor accused Mayor Brenda Locke of engaging in petty politics. Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis expressed frustration, stating, “It’s absolutely ridiculous that the mayor continues to throw up roadblocks to the transition, wasting time and money. While she won’t pay for the new recruits, she has found $500,000 for her politically motivated anti-SPS public relations plan. I’m embarrassed as a councilor and as a resident of Surrey that the mayor has treated these new recruits this way. What a terrible welcome to our city.”
Councillor Nagra added to the critique, accusing Mayor Locke of misallocating taxpayer funds. “In the face of rising gang violence and shootings, the Mayor has diverted half a million taxpayer dollars to her own partisan political ad campaign instead of funding more boots on the ground. This is an egregious misallocation of taxpayer resources and an abuse of power.”
Highlighting the urgency of the public safety crisis, the councilors stressed the need for additional police presence to combat crime. Councillor Elford emphasized, “At a critical time for law enforcement, this decision delays the deployment of much-needed officers patrolling our city to fight crime.”
In a unified call to action, council members urged the Provincial government to intervene. Councillor Nagra stated, “We call on Premier and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to ensure the SPS officers’ salaries are paid without delay. Prioritizing the safety and security of Surrey’s residents over Brenda Locke’s petty politics is crucial.”