Road to SPS
In 2018, the City of Surrey decided to move from the RCMP to its own municipal police service. The Province of BC approved this change and appointed a civilian Surrey Police Board, and Surrey Police Service (SPS) was officially established.
The policing transition is now well underway with over 200 SPS officers deployed into policing operations. During this first phase of the transition, the RCMP remain in charge of policing as SPS continues to grow.
Knowing the facts
Changing a city’s policing model is a big deal. It is important to understand the facts of Surrey’s policing transition as it moves forward.
- In 2018, the City of Surrey requested a transition to a municipal police service. This request was approved by the Province of BC.
- The Province established the Surrey Police Board in 2020.
- The Surrey Police Board established Surrey Police Service (SPS) in August 2020.
- The three levels of government, SPS, and the RCMP are implementing this phased policing transition, which began in November 2021.
- The Surrey Police Union was formed and ratified its first collective agreement in 2022.
- Approximately 400 police officers and civilian employees have been hired.
- Over 200 SPS officers have been deployed into policing operations.
- In July 2023, the Province reaffirmed their decision that the transition to SPS would be completed to ensure public safety for Surrey and throughout BC (see the Province's news release). The Minister of Public Safety also appointed Jessica McDonald to facilitate the completion of the transition to SPS.
- In October 2023, the Province introduced legislation (Bill 36) which requires the City of Surrey to provide policing services through a municipal police department (see the Province's news release). The Police Act Amendment, 2023, was passed and received Royal Assent on October 26, 2023.
- Municipal policing brings many benefits that are not provided by the RCMP. See the benefits of municipal policing.
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.
While the 2019 Surrey Policing Transition Plan and Report of the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Committee provided valuable information to inform the early 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.
Since those plans were developed, the model for SPS has begun to be refined, based on Surrey’s policing needs and crime trends, the city’s changing demographics, and community input. Surrey’s policing services will continue to be reviewed annually as part of the budgeting and strategic planning processes.
Financial updates for the SPS operational budget and the one-time policing transition budget are posted regularly on the Surrey Police Board website. Reported expenditures include any services provided by the City of Surrey to SPS.
The one-time policing transition budget was established by City Council to support the infrastructure development of SPS over five years, covering start-up expenses including equipment and IT. In 2020, this budget was increased to $63.7M due to a decision to build new IT infrastructure rather than using the current aging technology.
The recent unionization of the RCMP has increased costs for all RCMP-policed municipalities, closing the gap in costs between the RCMP and municipal police. In addition, the federal 10% cost-share that comes with RCMP contract service comes with a cost to the municipality, as it allows the RCMP and governments to retain some control over detachment resources, including deployments to emergencies and major events.
Surrey Police Service 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 has implemented several strategies to ensure our hiring does not destabilize policing in the Lower Mainland:
- Staggered hiring
- Recruiting locally and across Canada
- Consultation with police chiefs to understand any of their hiring/staffing challenges
- Not over-hiring from any one police agency – particularly smaller agencies
While SPS has hired experienced officers from over 25 different agencies, the vast majority of SPS officers come from BC. While not all of our officers are from Surrey, they will now be in Surrey for the duration of their careers, allowing them to build long-term relationships with the community.
SPS also regularly has recruits attending the Justice Institute of BC (JIBC) for training to become Qualified Municipal Constables.
SPS hiring is aligned with the 2022-2023 SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy and Plan. A 2024 Human Resources Plan is in development with all transition parties. This plan will guide the continuing deployments of SPS officers and related RCMP demobilizations.
Hiring as of November 2023:
- Total Employees Hired: 394
- Civilian Employees: 58
- Sworn Police Officers: 336
- Senior Officers: 30
- Staff Sergeants: 17
- Sergeants: 76
- Constables: 213
- Females: 68 (20%)
- Males: 268 (80%)
- Visible Minorities (self-identified): 146 (43%)
- Indigenous (self-identified): 17 (5%)
- Languages Spoken: 35
SPS officers who have been deployed into policing operations as of November 2023: 257
The three levels of government have agreed to a phased, integrated transition for Surrey’s change in policing. Phase 1 of the transition began in November 2021 with the deployment of the first group of SPS officers into the Surrey RCMP detachment. Approximately every two months, additional SPS officers are deployed.
Two key agreements govern this initial phase of the policing transition:
- The Assignment Agreement governs the integration of SPS officers into the Surrey RCMP.
- The SPS-RCMP Human Resources Plan sets out the deployment and demobilization numbers (2024 plan in development).
The RCMP remain as the police agency of jurisdiction during Phase 1. Phase 2 will focus on the change of command from the RCMP to SPS. The timeline for Phase 2 has not yet been determined by the parties.
- 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: 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: SPS surpasses100 staff hired
- November 2021: Operational deployment of first group of SPS officers
- February 2022: First SPS Strategic Plan released
- March 2022: Collective Bargaining Agreement reached with Surrey Police Union
- April 2022: First class of 14 recruits begins with SPS
- May 2022: SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy & Plan approved
- July 2022: SPS surpasses 100 officers deployed into policing operations
- August 2022: SPS becomes second largest municipal police agency in BC
- October 2022: SPS surpasses 350 staff hired
- November 2022: Establishment of Surrey Police Inspector's Association
January 2023: SPS surpasses 200 officers deployed into policing operations
March 2023: First SPS recruit class graduates from the JIBC
April 2023: Province recommends Surrey continue its transition to SPS to ensure public safety in Surrey and across BC
July 2023: Province makes binding decision to complete the policing transition to SPS
October 2023: The Police Act Amendment, 2023, receives Royal Assent, requiring the City of Surrey to provide policing services through a municipal police department