British Columbia

RCMP officers can transfer pensions if they join Surrey police force, mayor says

Doug McCallum says he can work around one of the biggest challenges that comes with setting up a municipal police force.

Doug McCallum says transfers will not be a recruitment roadblock when city police starts hiring

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum during his state of the city address on Tuesday. McCallum expects a municipal police force will be up and running by July 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The mayor of Surrey, B.C., says he can work around one of the biggest challenges that comes with setting up a municipal police force.

Doug McCallum — who plans to replace the Surrey RCMP with the city's own police department — says officers who leave the Mounties to join city police will be able to transfer their pensions.

"Initial indications are that we will be able to switch the RCMP pensions over to our own city police force," McCallum told the CBC's Stephen Quinn, host of The Early Edition, on Thursday morning.

"We've checked with the pension organization in B.C., which is the controlling body, and we've checked with the federal pension authorities."

McCallum expects about half of the Surrey police department's officers will be hired directly from the Surrey RCMP.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum stands near a vehicle with Surrey police markings during his state of the city address on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Plan completed soon

When Richmond city council looked into setting up a municipal police force in 2015, it was determined that RCMP offers would not be able to transfer their pensions.

McCallum won't say why the situation is different in Surrey.

"I don't know about Richmond," he said.

McCallum says all other details about pensions are included in the city's policing plan, which is expected to be completed in the coming days.

When it's finished, council will look it over and it will then be sent to the B.C. solicitor general for approval.

The contents of the report, which will include everything from the overall cost of the transition to how day-to-day operations will work, have not been made public.

McCallum expects there will be an overlap between the RCMP and city police force for about a year. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

RCMP overlap

McCallum expects the municipal force will be up and running by July 2020 but the RCMP will stick around to help with the transition.

Both forces will work together out of the current Surrey RCMP headquarters building on 144 Street and Highway 10.

"There certainly will be a period of time where we will be in parallel with the RCMP as we switch over."

"It will probably be for about a year period until we do the full transition."

Listen to Doug McCallum's full interview with the CBC's Stephen Quinn on The Early Edition:

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