Civilian Oversight of Municipal Police Departments
There are four significant civilian and government oversight bodies that will hold the Surrey Police and sworn officers accountable.
All municipal independent police departments in British Columbia are superintended by the Director of Police Services in the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. The Director has the power to mandate standards and the Surrey Police is accountable to those standards
The Province appoints the Surrey Police Board who oversees the administration and operations of the Surrey Police. The Surrey Police Board has four legislated governance roles outlined in the BC Police Act. The Board is responsible for:
- Hiring the chief constable
- Conducting oversight of all policies
- Approving and overseeing the budget
- Investigating Service or Policy Complaints under the authority of the OPCC.
The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) is the independent oversight body that has authority over complaints against municipal police officers.
The OPCC is led by the Police Complaints Commissioner who is an Officer of the BC Legislature. Any complaint against a police officer in BC (with the exception of the RCMP) is processed and investigated through the OPCC under Part 11 of the BC Police Act. The Surrey Police Professional Standards Section conducts investigations on behalf of the OPCC both for Surrey Police and for other police departments in BC, when requested. The OPCC maintains contemporaneous oversight of all investigations.
The Surrey Police Board is responsible for Service or Policy complaints against the Surrey Police; these complaints are not related to individual officers, rather the policies that guide the operations or administration of the Surrey Police. As with other complaints, Service or Policy complaints are conducted under the authority of the OPCC.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC is a civilian led independent oversight body responsible for conducting investigations into incidents of death or serious harm that may have been a result of the actions or inactions of a police officer, whether on or off duty. The IIO has jurisdiction over all of BC’s policing agencies, including 11 municipal agencies, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The South Coast BC Transportation Authority Police Service and the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Service.
The IIO’s jurisdiction extends to officers appointed as special provincial constables, municipal constables and includes on- and off- duty officer conduct. The IIO brings transparency and accountability to policing throughout BC. If an investigation determines that an officer has committed an offence, the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO can recommend consideration of charges to Crown Counsel. If the investigation determines an offence has not been committed, Director may issue a public report explaining the reasons for the decision.
From April – June 2019 the City undertook consultation about the communities priorities for policing and a report on the findings, along with the original source data, were released.
Surrey faces many of the same challenges of all major urban centres. Persistent social issues such as housing and income insecurity, substance use and mental illness have a profound impact on our community.
It is important to understand the trends that will inform the Surrey Police priorities.
Crime trend data is currently being updated and will be published when completed.
Innovation in Community Safety
Surrey is a leader in creating innovative community safety programs that address the specific needs of the community. These programs were created under the City’s Public Safety Strategy in 2016 and continue today to empower citizens to address issues facing our community.
The Gang Exiting Project
A collaboration with Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) to target individuals already involved in the gang lifestyle to assist them to exit the gang and support them to reintegrate into society.
Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table (SMART)
A group of partners that meet weekly to support adults who are at acutely elevated risk of harm to themselves or others. Bringing together police and other service providers is critical to the success of the model.
The City delivered several initiatives to address the opioid overdose crisis in BC over the last two years. Involving multiple community partners including police and fire services the City was able to use technology to identify patterns in the opioid overdose calls for service and undertake groundbreaking social network analysis on individuals who succumbed to overdose to determine risk factors and opportunities for program interventions. Bringing together data from multiple sectors to design integrated approaches is a core feature of the City’s opioid response.
It is a priority for the City to ensure that approaches to community safety issues remain current and responsive to changing conditions in the community.