In 2018, the City of Surrey decided to change how it wants policing services to be delivered and exercised its authority under the BC Police Act to have its own municipal police service. The Province of BC approved this change and appointed a police board in 2020. Policing services in Surrey are now transitioning from the RCMP to the Surrey Police Service (SPS), which was created as an independent police service by the Surrey Police Board in 2020.
At this time, SPS is not the police of jurisdiction for Surrey; policing services will continue to be provided by the RCMP until SPS assumes responsibility for policing. 

Knowing the facts

Changing a city’s policing model is a big deal. Public safety is something that residents care deeply about, and a change of this magnitude can be unsettling for some. It is understandable that people will have differing opinions about Surrey’s move to a municipal police service. However, it is important to know that SPS is approved to move forward. Below are some of the key facts to know about Surrey’s policing transition.

  • The Province of BC established the Surrey Police Board in 2020.
  • Surrey Police Service was established by the Surrey Police Board.
  • Surrey Police Union has been certified to represent SPS police officers, and the first collective agreement has been ratified.
  • CUPE 402 represents SPS civilian employees.
  • Over 275 police officers and civilian employees have been hired, with more coming on board regularly.
  • SPS officers are being deployed into policing operations every two months.
  • Under the Police Act, Mayor and Council have limited authority to make changes to policing services.
  • The three levels of government, SPS and the RCMP continue to work together through the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee to develop and implement this phased, integrated policing transition.
  • Read the Ministry of Public Safety’s Factsheet on the Surrey police transition

 

Updates on SPS’s operational budget and the one-time policing transition budget are released regularly by the Surrey Police Board and can be found on the Board’s website. The reported costs include any services provided by the City of Surrey to SPS, as well as the salaries of any City employees who have been temporarily seconded to SPS.

The cost of the infrastructure of the transition will be approximately $64M, phased over five years. This will cover start-up expenses, including equipment and information technology infrastructure. The cost of running SPS on an annual basis is currently projected at $206M by 2025 and is within the City’s approved five-year financial plans. Approximately 80-90% of police costs relate to salaries, given the 24/7 operational requirements.

The City currently pays 90% of the cost for assets, including vehicles and equipment acquired by RCMP, for policing in Surrey. The current policing agreements set out a process for the transfer of assets in the case of the termination of a Municipal Police Unit Agreement.

The City owns or leases all facilities currently used by the Surrey RCMP and SPS. SPS will operate out of existing facilities during and after the transition.

The City currently pays for training of RCMP members (at RCMP Depot in Regina) through the RCMP contract budget. Future SPS recruits will pay a portion of the costs of their training at Justice Institute of BC, and they will receive a salary while they attend training. 

The unionization of the RCMP and its new collective agreement will increase costs for all RCMP-policed municipalities, closing the gap in operating costs between the RCMP and municipal police.

The SPS is an investment in the future of our rapidly developing city. Public safety is an area where you want the best service, not the least expensive.

SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy and Plan – Fact Sheet

SPS - RCMP HR Strategy and Plan (Redacted)

With SPS’s need to hire hundreds of experienced police officers, how and when those officers are hired is an important topic at SPS and at many Lower Mainland police agencies.

SPS has implemented a number of strategies to ensure its hiring does not negatively impact any particular agency or community. Hiring is being staggered over a number of years, in alignment with the phased, integrated transition plan. SPS has hired experienced police officers from 20 different police agencies across Canada.

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski speaks with Lower Mainland police chiefs on a regular basis to understand any hiring challenges agencies may be experiencing, and adjust SPS’s hiring accordingly. SPS is also careful not to over-hire from any one police agency – particularly smaller agencies – to ensure they can continue to meet the service demands of their community, and to allow them time to fill positions with either experienced officers or new recruits through the Justice Institute of BC. 

The Province of BC plays a significant role on the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee, which was established to guide the integrated RCMP/SPS transition. The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is responsible for ensuring adequate and effective policing is maintained throughout BC. This includes consideration of any potential regional, provincial, and local impacts of the transition.

Each quarter, SPS will report out on its hiring. This information is shared to keep the public informed on the pace of our hiring and our commitment to gender and cultural diversity.

April 2022 

Total Employees Hired: 231

Civilian Employees: 35

Sworn Police Officers: 196

  • Senior Officers: 17
  • Staff Sergeants: 19
  • Sergeants: 44
  • Constables: 116
  • Females: 34
  • Males: 162
  • Visible Minorities (self-identified): 79
  • Indigenous (self-identified): 14
  • Languages Spoken: 33

 

January 2022 

Total Employees Hired: 188

Civilian Employees: 29

Sworn Police Officers: 159

  • Senior Officers: 17
  • Staff Sergeants: 18
  • Sergeants: 37
  • Constables: 87
  • Females: 32
  • Males: 127
  • Visible Minorities (self-identified): 63
  • Indigenous (self-identified): 12
  • Languages Spoken: 26

In May 2019 the initial plan for the transition to a municipal police service was published along with a summary highlights document.  

From April to 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.

The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General released a redacted copy of the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee (PMPTSC) Report that was completed in December 2019. Some specific information in the report has been removed for privacy and operational security reasons.

  • November 2018: City Council passes motion to establish a municipal police service 
  • February 2020: Provincial government approves transition process 
  • June 2020: Province of BC establishes Surrey Police Board 
  • August 2020: Police Board creates Surrey Police Service 
  • September 2020: Surrey Police Transition Trilateral Committee established 
  • November 2020: Chief Constable selected 
  • January - February 2021: Deputy Chiefs selected and policing bureaus established 
  • March 2021: Agreement signed for CUPE 402 to represent civilian employees 
  • May 2021: SPS crest, vision and values revealed 
  • June 2021:
    • Frontline Constable recruitment commences 
    • SPS launches community consultation 
  • July 2021: First swearing-in ceremony held for SPS police officers 
  • August 2021: Surrey Police Union certified to represent SPS police officers 
  • September 2021: Over 100 police officers and civilian staff hired (to-date) 
  • November 2021: Operational deployment of first group of SPS officers 
  • February 2022:
    • Over 200 police officers and civilian staff hired (to-date) 
    • First SPS Strategic Plan released 
  • March 2022: Collective Bargaining Agreement reached by SPS, SPU and SPB 
  • April 2022: First class of 14 new recruits began with SPS 
  • May 2022: SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy and Plan approved

The SPTTC partners have agreed to a phased, integrated transition process, which began with the deployment of the first group of SPS officers on November 29, 2021. These officers are assigned to positions within the RCMP Municipal Police Unit in Surrey (i.e. Surrey RCMP). The RCMP will remain the police agency of jurisdiction during this point of the policing transition. The deployments of each group are staggered to allow for a seamless and safe integration for the RCMP, SPS and the public.

An Assignment Agreement was signed by the RCMP, SPS, Surrey Police Board and City of Surrey to govern the integration of the first cohort of SPS officers into the RCMP Municipal Police Unit (i.e. Surrey RCMP). This 18-month agreement covers the first phase of Surrey’s policing transition. Once this agreement ends, it will be replaced by another agreement as part of the on-going transition from the RCMP to SPS for municipal policing duties in Surrey. These agreements do not allow any of the parties to ‘opt out’ of the policing transition, which has been approved to move forward.

Our experienced officers have been fully trained and security cleared to municipal police standards. However, for those who are being deployed into the Surrey RCMP, they are also required to undergo an RCMP security clearance process.

SPS and the RCMP have developed a collaborative Human Resources Strategy and Plan that guides the deployment of SPS officers and the related demobilization of RCMP members until May 2023.

SPS police officers deployed as of May 24, 2022: 85 

The federal, provincial and municipal governments established the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC) in 2020. The SPTTC is tasked with guiding and supporting the development, negotiation and implementation of a phased transition of policing services in Surrey.

The SPTTC is made up of senior representatives from the three levels of government: Assistant Deputy Ministers from the Government of Canada and Province of BC, and the City Manager and General Manager, Policing Transition, from the City of Surrey. Senior leaders of the RCMP and SPS also participate in an “ex officio” capacity. The SPTTC supports key decision making throughout the transition, however it does not replace the legislated powers of provincial government who has ultimate decision making authority on policing in BC.

The SPTTC is supported by a Working Group and obtains subject matter expertise to plan and implement transition activities. A critical path has been developed by the SPTTC for the initial phase of the transition.

While the Surrey Policing Transition Plan (May, 2019), and the Report of the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Committee (December, 2019) provided valuable information to inform the development of SPS and the transition process, the policing model and figures in these reports were  subject to modification once the Surrey Police Board and Chief Constable were in place, which occurred in 2020. 

Over the past few years, the model for SPS has begun to be refined, based on Surrey’s policing needs and crime trends, the city’s changing demographics, and input received from the community.

SPS will continue to refine its policing model based on Surrey’s evolving policing needs. One of the most significant benefits of a municipal policing service is its ability to be responsive to the needs of the community. As such, the policing services provided to the community will be reviewed annually as part of the budgeting and strategic planning processes.

As per the SPTTC, SPS’s hiring and deployment of police officers is aligned with the joint SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy and Plan, as well as the budget provided to the Surrey Police Board by the City of Surrey. The HR Plan guides the continuing implementation of the first phase of Surrey’s policing transition. The plan outlines the numbers for the deployment of SPS officers and the related demobilization of RCMP members until May 2023. Read more about the HR Plan.