SPS Updates Newsletter
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SPS Continues Support of Policing in Surrey
Following the Province of BC’s recommendation that the City of Surrey complete its transition to Surrey Police Service (SPS), SPS continues to support policing operations while the Province and City determine the path forward.
SPS remains committed to serving Surrey and is fully prepared to ensure safe, effective policing for this city. Over the past eighteen months, SPS has deployed over 200 police officers into eleven different operational areas including frontline, traffic, youth, gangs, and major crime. Currently, SPS officers comprise over 25% of the Surrey RCMP’s detachment strength, and 50% of its frontline.
Every day, SPS deploys over 80 officers alongside the RCMP. As the current police of jurisdiction, the RCMP is in charge of all communications regarding Surrey policing files – even those managed by SPS officers. This is part of phase one of the policing transition, and it helps the public and media know where to get policing information, instead of wondering which agency to call. But rest assured, SPS officers are working hard each day to respond to your calls quickly, hear your concerns, and protect public safety.
You can learn more about phase one of Surrey’s policing transition at www.surreypolice.ca/spspolicing-transition.
2022 Report to the Community Released
SPS’s 2022 Report to the Community is now available. Titled ‘A New Era of Policing for Surrey’, this annual report covers the significant work that was done throughout 2022 to build SPS, advance the policing transition, and effect change in Surrey's policing model.
Amidst the global demand for policing reform, SPS is at the forefront of this change as Canada's newest police service. This report highlights SPS's commitment to surpassing the status quo through meaningful change, community engagement, equity and safety, access to information, and employee wellness.
SPS remains committed to forging a new path in policing, while fostering trust, safety, and inclusivity within Surrey.
You can view the SPS Report to the Community at www.surreypolice.ca/publications.
Connecting with the Community
SPS continues to prioritize meaningful engagements and consultations with the community. Over the last few months, we have been invited to continue to build partnerships with organizations that we have been establishing a connection with since day one.
We were grateful to participate in this year’s Surrey Vaisakhi parade, with Chief Constable Lipinski and a number of SPS officers walking in the parade and chatting with attendees.
Surrey Crime Prevention Society volunteers regularly support SPS at community events throughout the city, and the organization recently honoured SPS with a Community Partner Award. We are very grateful for our continuing partnership with Surrey Crime Prevention, and for the work they do in support of public safety in Surrey.
Our Community 1st Unit has also been busy connecting with various groups. Sgt. Dale Quiring has been making regular visits to the Surrey Women’s Centre to engage with staff and clients, as well as the Salvation Army food kitchen to discuss ways SPS can support vulnerable people in Surrey.
A Message from the Chief Constable
Today the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General made a considered, comprehensive, and evidence-based recommendation that the transition to Surrey Police Service (SPS) move forward. We appreciate the provincial government’s endorsement of SPS.
This is a rare opportunity to build a police service that is rooted in the principles, values and realities of today’s world, and a chance to redefine policing for Surrey. This policing transition is not about simply changing the colour of the uniform – it is about bringing a new era of policing to Surrey. Across Canada, citizens have made it clear that they want to see policing done differently – with more compassion and trauma-informed practice, and less reliance on use of force. At SPS we are seeking to go beyond the status quo of policing as we find new approaches and solutions to public safety.
It is my hope that Council will recognize that now is the time to continue with this significant change in their policing model that will bring progressive and effective policing to the city for future generations.
I welcome the opportunity to work with the Mayor and Council and the provincial government on the very important next steps. It is my hope that we can now come together and focus on continuing to build a modern police service for this growing and diverse city.
To the residents of Surrey, I want you to know that you have a very dedicated and compassionate group of people at Surrey Police Service who are committed to your safety and that of your families. SPS is fully prepared and equipped to ensure safe, effective, and exceptional policing for Surrey, and we hope to have the opportunity to provide that to the residents and businesses of Surrey.
First SPS Recruits Graduate from JIBC
On March 10th, we had the opportunity to celebrate our first class of recruits who officially graduated from the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC). SPS Chief Constable Norm Lipinski had the honour of being the Reviewing Officer for the JIBC Class 168 graduates.
These 14 recruits began their training with SPS in April 2022 before heading off to the JIBC Police Academy in May. They completed a total of 46 weeks of training at the JIBC and SPS, including on the job field training. With their extensive training, volunteer backgrounds and work experiences, they are well-equipped to support public safety and policing in Surrey.
With no time to rest, these new Constables were quickly deployed into policing operations a few days after their graduation, officially beginning their policing careers in Surrey.
SPS currently has 332 sworn police officers, with 219 officers who have been deployed to work alongside Surrey RCMP, as part of phase one of the policing transition.
You can read the news release here.
Connecting with the Community
From day one, SPS has prioritized consistent and meaningful community engagement and consultation. From engaging with the public while out on patrol, to holding in-depth discussions with community groups to help us shape our community policing model, all SPS officers understand the critical importance of working with the community.
Over the last few months we have continued to build connections with Options Surrey Food Bank, a number of local libraries and rec centres, YWCA/YMCA, the Sikh Academy, and many more. A number of our staff participated in the Coldest Night of the Year walk, raising $2,125 for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen. We have also been working closely with RainCity Housing to learn how our officers can most appropriately engage with local vulnerable populations, and to better understand Surrey’s network of shelters and supports.
SPS Hosts Gracie Survival Tactics Instructor Course
SPS recently held a Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) instructor course for 10 neighbouring law enforcement and first responder agencies, becoming the first agency to host a course like this in the Lower Mainland.
Focussed on de-escalation, GST is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu based defensive tactics program that uses leverage techniques to help first responders gain compliance from a subject, instead of using traditional police use of force options.
Over 35 police officers, peace officers and other first responders participated in the course at an SPS training facility, with SPS Constable Christiaan Allaart assisting the lead Gracie University instructors. Cst. Allaart provides GST training for all officers who join SPS, as well as weekly practice sessions for officers to continue to hone their skills.
Research shows that using GST in the appropriate situations helps to prevent injuries for both the suspect and officer.
You can learn more about SPS’s experienced officer training program on our website.
Talking About Wellness in Policing
Sergeant Kaleigh Paddon, who leads the SPS Wellness Unit, recently sat down with TenThirtyThree podcast host Nathan Kapler to discuss employee wellness and how SPS is creating a culture of internal support for its police officers and civilian employees.
The quality of policing to the community is directly correlated to the psychological health of employees. For compassionate and highly responsive care to communities, we must prioritize the well-being of our employees. SPS understands this reality and is working diligently to create a workplace culture that values and supports mental health.
In this podcast, Sgt. Paddon discusses SPS’s unique and proactive approach to wellness in policing.
You can listen to the full podcast here.
A Message from the Chief Constable
Last week we lost one of our own with the sudden and tragic death of a Surrey Police Service (SPS) officer, who was off duty at the time. We are devastated by the loss of this officer who made many friends here during their short time with SPS. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from the Surrey community and the global law enforcement community – we hear you and we appreciate you.
A tragedy like this is extremely difficult to process and we continue to focus on supporting the officer’s family and our employees. Wellness is a priority at SPS, and while we can never ensure any one person’s wellness, it is critical that as a police agency we invest in it consistently and vigorously.
Wellness is embedded in our culture at SPS – from our policies and practices to our organizational structure. We ensure that supports are in place for our people before they are needed, and we regularly check in on the health and wellness of all employees – particularly those who are experiencing professional or personal stressors.
Later this month, our SPS psychologist and Wellness Unit will be hosting the first SPS Employee Partner Night. This event is part of our ongoing commitment to support the wellness of our people and their families as they navigate the unique challenges of working in policing or having a partner/spouse who works in policing.
As we await the decision by the provincial government on the future of the policing transition, SPS is making fiscally conservative decisions around our spending, while still following the Province’s direction to continue to deliver on the transition plan unless there is a new plan approved for Surrey’s policing.
In late January, the Province of BC made requests of SPS, the City of Surrey, and the RCMP for additional information to help inform their decision. SPS has provided this information and is looking forward to a timely decision.
In the interim, SPS continues to work on policy development, supporting and training our people, responding to calls for service, and building relationships with the community.
Recently, we visited the Surrey Women’s Centre, attended the “WickFest” female hockey festival, and had in-depth conversations with RainCity Housing about their programs so our officers are aware of the housing and support programs available to vulnerable people in Surrey. We also look forward to participating in the Coldest Night of the Year walk in support of the Cloverdale Community Kitchen.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the community for their ongoing support of SPS. Wherever our officers go, they are met with youth, residents, and business owners who are eager to talk to them about how municipal policing can benefit the community, and why they chose a career in policing. We appreciate your continuing interest and excitement in having your own municipal police service.
SPS Welcomes Third Recruit Class
Surrey Police Service (SPS) recently welcomed 11 more Recruit Constables. This is the third group of recruits to begin their policing careers with SPS, with the goal of providing excellent public safety service to Surrey for years to come.
After an intensive hiring process that began last year, the recruits will now begin their police training at the Justice Institute of BC. This group consists of five females and six males, ranging in age from 20 to 36. Collectively, they speak 10 different languages and come from diverse cultural backgrounds.
SPS’s Recruit Constable program is highly competitive with just 39 selected to-date, from more than 1,200 applications. Learn more at www.surreypolice.ca/recruits.
Reports Submitted for Provincial Decision on Policing Transition
In December 2022, Surrey City Council voted to submit a plan to the Province of BC to retain the RCMP as the police of jurisdiction in Surrey and stop the transition to SPS. SPS subsequently submitted two reports to the Province that support the continuation of the transition.
Surrey Police Service: The Future of Public Safety in Surrey details why it is in the best interests of Surrey residents and BC policing to continue with the transition to a local municipal police service. The rationale includes SPS’s proven ability to recruit officers, the challenges in terminating the employment of almost 400 employees, and the operational capacity of SPS. SPS’s second report provides a comprehensive update on our progress towards assuming police of jurisdiction status.
The decision on the future of Surrey’s policing transition now rests with the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, with a decision expected early this year. SPS is hopeful that we will continue to have the opportunity to build a modern police service that is victim-focused, trauma informed, transparent with policies and complaint processes, and compassionate to all.
In late November, SPS deployed an additional 33 officers into policing operations, bringing the total number of SPS officers who have been deployed to 187. The next deployment of SPS officers will take place at the end of January, in accordance with the SPS –RCMP Human Resources Plan.
The SPS officers who are not deployed are either recruits in training or experienced officers who are awaiting deployment and currently supporting the critical work to develop SPS.
Over the past year, SPS Sergeants and Constables have been deployed into positions on the Frontline, as well as investigative and community-focused positions. The current phase of Surrey’s policing transition involves an integrated model with both SPS and RCMP officers responding to calls for service. Learn more about the policing transition.
Unit Spotlight: Operational Skills Unit
The SPS Operational Skills Unit (OSU) provides mandatory and advanced operational training to all SPS officers that meets or exceeds BC Provincial Policing Standards.
SPS’s training program emphasizes community and officer safety. Even experienced officers who are hired by SPS go through a mandatory six-week training program before being deployed in Surrey. The OSU training includes mandatory qualifications, operational skills user courses, police tactics, and incident command.
The OSU also places a significant emphasis on de-escalation, training all officers in Gracie Survival Tactics (based on Brazilian jiu-jitsu), and Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics (ICAT), which uses communications to reduce the need to use force.
Our OSU instructors were awarded a 2022 SPS Unit Commendation for creating a progressive training curriculum that is based on best practices and in line with the goal of making SPS the best trained police service.
A Message from the Chief Constable
As 2022 comes to a close and Surrey Police Service (SPS) finishes its second year, I am reminded that sometimes you have to take a moment to look back to see how far you have come. SPS has indeed come a long way in twelve short months.
Our staff team has doubled in the past year and our number of officers deployed to answer calls for service has gone from just 29 to 187. Collectively, these officers have responded to thousands of calls for service – saving lives, protecting the vulnerable, conducting investigations, and helping to make Surrey safer. The rest of our team has been busy either training in preparation for deployment, or building the extensive infrastructure required for a new police agency.
This year also marked a number of other milestones for SPS including the release of our first strategic plan, which was informed by community consultation; welcoming our first two classes of Recruit Constables; and the implementation of the SPS-RCMP Human Resources Plan to guide phase one of the policing transition.
However, our greatest accomplishment this year has been our extensive engagement with Surrey residents, youth, and diverse community groups. SPS officers frequently engage with the public while out on patrol, and our Community Policing Bureau staff conduct regular community consultation meetings to further inform the development of our community policing model. Over 600 community engagements have been conducted in 2022 – and this is only the beginning.
While we have made great progress on the policing transition this past year, we unfortunately end the year with some uncertainty as the City of Surrey explores their options for policing.
Surrey City Council recently voted to submit the City’s Plan to Retain the RCMP as the Police of Jurisdiction in Surrey to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General for his consideration. I am concerned that the assumptions and omissions in the report do not provide residents with an accurate picture of their options for the future of policing in Surrey. You can read more in our December 12th news release.
There are a number of reasons why large municipalities such as Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto choose to have their own municipal police service, instead of contracting the RCMP. Ultimately, the choice to have a municipal police agency is about increased accountability and responsiveness. While the cost is often slightly higher to a municipality, the benefits of municipal policing are significant.
From day one, Surrey Police Service has been designed for Surrey. You can see it in the people we have hired, how we communicate, and what we prioritize in our daily work. If we are fortunate enough to become Surrey’s police of jurisdiction, you will see it reflected in the programs we will offer to keep you and your families safe, our responsiveness to local issues, and the long-term relationships our officers will build within the community.
This is an unprecedented situation where a police agency was approved and stood up over two years ago, and now Council is seeking to reverse course and shut down a police agency with 375 employees who joined SPS in good faith. This is a difficult situation for the employees of both SPS and the Surrey RCMP. I think it is safe to say that we are all hopeful for a prompt, but carefully considered decision by the Minister early in the new year.
I wish all Surrey residents and business owners a peaceful and safe holiday season, and I thank you for the support and input you have provided to SPS in 2022.
Update on the Policing Transition
There continues to be significant discussion around Surrey’s transition from the RCMP to Surrey Police Service (SPS), including the recent City Council vote (5-4) to retain the RCMP as the police of jurisdiction. While this has introduced a level of uncertainty for all involved, the Province of BC has said their expectation is that the current transition plan will continue, unless there is a new plan approved by the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
The City of Surrey has advised that they are working to prepare a report that will cover how the City proposes to reverse the transition, including a plan for staffing the Surrey RCMP to their full complement of 734 police officers, which SPS is currently augmenting with what will soon be almost 200 officers who are supporting policing operations. The City’s plan would be sent to Minister Mike Farnworth and would require his approval before any changes are made to the status of Surrey’s policing transition.
As such, SPS continues to have an obligation to both the Province of BC and Surrey to meet the targets set out in the transition plan to deploy SPS officers every two months. These SPS officers are needed to maintain critical public safety in Surrey.
SPS is a substantive, functioning police agency that has been approved by the provincial government through legislation. It is a police agency with 315 police officers and 59 civilian employees who made a choice to come work for a municipal police agency and be a part of a new era of policing. They are individuals who were not interested in working for just any police organization – they wanted to be a part of one that is built on a foundation of meaningful community engagement, civilian oversight, accountability, and employee wellness. It is a police agency that is actively – and proudly – providing service to Surrey residents right now.
Surrey Police Service remains committed to fulfilling our obligations in this transition, and to building a local police service that is tailor-made for Surrey.
While the decision will ultimately rest with the Province of BC, everyone at SPS hopes to continue to have the opportunity to serve Surrey with a modern, accountable police service.
SPS News Release: Much more to consider in determining fate of Surrey’s policing transition
Given the recent discourse around the future of the policing transition, the Surrey Police Board recently provided some important financial information, in addition to the monthly financials that they post publicly. Using publicly available data, the Board provided a calculation of the total costs that will have been invested into Surrey Police Service (SPS) by the end of this year that would be considered “unrecoverable”. This amount is forecasted to be as high as $107M.
Connecting with the community through meaningful engagement remains the core focus of Surrey Police Service (SPS). Earlier this month, more than 30 officers gathered at the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib to participate in a large parade which brought together thousands of Surrey residents in celebration of the first Guru of Sikhism. In addition, SPS officers took part in the Guru Nanak Food Bank Drive to help provide meals to those in need.
Some of our officers also made recent visits to the Cloverdale Library story time, Surrey Urban Mission, and Sikh Academy, and attended meetings with the Age Friendly Network, Metis Nation of BC, and Canadian Police Youth Network, among others.
On November 11th, SPS participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies in Cloverdale, South Surrey, and Whalley to honour the courage and sacrifice of those who have served our country.
A Message from the Chief Constable
Collectively, we are mourning the tragic loss of Burnaby RCMP member, Constable Shaelyn Yang, on October 18th. Sadly, this on duty death comes on the heels of the loss of two South Simcoe Police Service officers, a York Regional Police officer and a Toronto Police Service officer in just over a month.
These untimely and tragic deaths of individuals who were carrying out their duty to protect the public, are a stark reminder of the increasing risks faced by police officers across the country. In the law enforcement community, it also reminds us that there is unity in the uniform – no matter the crest we wear – as we support each other through these difficult times.
Our thoughts are with our colleagues with the BC RCMP and in Ontario.
There is no doubt that public safety and policing were significant topics of discussion during Surrey’s recent municipal election. The Surrey Police Board will be seeking to provide the newly elected Mayor and Councillors with a fulsome briefing on the significant development of Surrey Police Service (SPS) and the status of the policing transition.
While SPS understands that not all members of the new City Council are supportive of the policing transition, it is important to note that the policing transition is already well underway, under the direction of the three levels of government. The provincial government provided Surrey with the ‘green light’ to establish a municipal police department in 2019. Over the past three years, millions of dollars have been invested, union agreements were established, over 350 staff were hired by the Surrey Police Board, and 154 SPS officers were deployed to respond to calls for service.
We welcome fulsome discussions with Mayor and Council, however any decision to change course on Surrey’s policing model would require the approval of the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
Through the governance of an independent civilian board, SPS has been built through the hard work of hundreds of individuals who are committed to creating a police service that is tailored to Surrey residents. Each of our 353 employees chose to leave their previous jobs to join SPS so they could be a part of a new era of policing. They joined us in good faith, knowing that the provincial government had approved this project, and all three levels of government were supporting this historic policing transition. Our people remain committed to SPS and to serving Surrey residents.
On a very different note, SPS has had many positive moments over the past month, including welcoming our second class of recruits, deploying 34 more officers into policing operations, and being featured on the cover of the national Blue Line magazine for their story on “The birth of a police department”. Other recent highlights included five SPS officers raising over $30,000 for Cops for Cancer during the Tour de Valley ride, and SPS’s participation in the Walk for Truth and Reconciliation with the Semiahmoo First Nation.
As the second largest municipal police agency in BC, SPS continues to build a modern police service that focuses on community policing, meaningful public engagement, and taking care of our people so they can take care of the community.
Update on SPS Recruits
Surrey Police Service (SPS) swore in our second class of recruits (pictured above) in early September. The group of fourteen recruits include eight females and six males from a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds. This group has now begun their training at the Justice Institute of BC to become Qualified Municipal Constables.
Our first recruit class, who began their police training this past spring, recently returned to SPS for the next phase of their training. They are now hitting the streets of Surrey alongside their experienced SPS field training officers to get their first taste of operational policing.
Employee Wellness and a Wagging Tail
Over the summer, SPS announced that a new four-legged member had joined the SPS family. As an accredited Occupational Stress Injury Dog, Ragnar is specially trained to help our sworn and civilian employees deal with trauma, emotional stress, and anxiety. Ragnar works with Sergeant Paddon from our Wellness Team, and together they attend incident debriefs, training sessions focused on mental health and resiliency, and critical incident callouts to support employees who have been exposed to traumatic incidents on the job. You can see what a typical day for Ragnar looks like in this video.
Ragnar is just one part of SPS’s commitment to employee wellness. At SPS, we believe that we must take care of our people so they can take care of the community. Our “foundations of wellness” are posted around the office to remind staff of our collective responsibilities for wellness: care for self, care for each other, care for our workplace, and care for Surrey.
Policing Transition Update
Surrey’s transition from the RCMP to Surrey Police Service (SPS) continues to progress, under the guidance of the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC).
We are in Phase 1 of the transition, with SPS officers integrated into the Surrey RCMP every two months and RCMP officers gradually demobilized. The SPTTC reached agreement on the legal pathway to Phase 2 and are working to confirm the specifics, including the timeline. Phase 2 will involve the change of command from the RCMP to SPS as SPS becomes the police of jurisdiction for Surrey.
To-date, SPS has deployed 120 SPS officers into policing operations, with another group being deployed in late September.
SPS and the Province of BC provide updates on the progress of the policing transition on their websites, and the costs of the transition are available on the Surrey Police Board website.
Our Community Engagement Team and senior officers continue to have meaningful conversations with organizations throughout Surrey to gather feedback on public safety, and to learn how we can work together in the future.
Over the summer, SPS officers attended meetings with the Black Business Association of BC, the Métis Nation BC, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. We also attended a number of local events that included the PICS REACH anti-gang car rally, a celebration of India’s 75th Independence Day at the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, and an event to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day, hosted by the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association.
Finally, the annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley kicks off on September 21st. SPS has five officers who will be riding over 800km throughout the Fraser Valley, after spending the summer fundraising and training. Funds raised for Cops for Cancer go towards childhood cancer research and support services. You can help the SPS team reach their goal here.
A Message from the Chief Constable
I hope you have all been enjoying your summer. Surrey Police Service (SPS) is as busy as ever; however, we’ve made sure our hardworking employees have also been able to enjoy time off with friends and family this summer, in support of their wellness.
Our recruiting is going well, with over 2,000 applications received over the past 18 months. Given that we are hiring an unprecedented number of experienced police officers, we have taken steps to ensure that policing in the Lower Mainland is not destabilized by our recruiting efforts. One of the ways we are doing this is by hiring experienced officers from across the country.
In September, our Recruiting Team will be heading to the Greater Toronto Area, Kelowna and Kamloops to meet with experienced officers who are interested in joining SPS. If you are an officer in these areas and want to learn more about SPS, please visit our website to schedule your in-person meeting.
Currently, 16% of our officers come from outside BC. And while some of our officers may not come from Surrey originally, I believe the most important part is that they will be in Surrey for the duration of their careers, which will allow them to build strong, long-term relationships with the community.
To-date, we have hired 261 sworn police officers and 54 civilian employees, making SPS the second largest municipal police agency in BC. Of our 261 officers, 120 have been deployed, 14 are recruits in training, 25 are in our experienced officer training, and the remainder are doing critical work building SPS: recruiting, IT, training, community consultation, policy development, and more.
We are often asked about the pace of the transition from the RCMP to SPS, and when SPS will take over command of policing in Surrey. Both are very good questions.
The policing transition is being implemented in a phased and controlled manner over a few years in order to ensure a seamless and safe transition for the public, the RCMP and SPS. The process is being guided by the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC), which is made up of senior representatives of the three levels of government. This committee also determines the pace of the transition, including our deployment numbers, which is what we base our hiring on at SPS.
We are currently in phase one of the policing transition, which started in November 2021. During this phase, SPS officers are integrated into the Surrey RCMP detachment every two months, and RCMP officers are gradually demobilized, as outlined in the SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy and Plan.
Phase two will be the change of command from the RCMP to SPS as SPS becomes the police of jurisdiction for Surrey. The timeline for phase two has yet to be determined by the three levels of government, and SPS eagerly awaits a decision on this matter.
A policing transition of this magnitude has not been done in Canada before, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which all three levels of government have approached this project, and the careful consideration they give to Surrey residents, RCMP and SPS officers, and the civilian staff supporting policing in Surrey.
As I often tell my SPS team, the best things in life are rarely easy, but we are making great progress and I am very proud of the policing service that we are building for and with Surrey citizens.
Chief Constable Norm Lipinski
SPS Financial Update
The Surrey Police Board (SPB) reported SPS’s year-to-date expenditures at its July public meeting, showing nearly $7.0M underspent in the Surrey Police Service (SPS) operational budget.
For 2022, the City of Surrey allocated $72.5M of its policing budget to SPS, which is 37% of the $194.8M used to fund all police services in Surrey (SPS, RCMP and civilian police support services). The SPB only has oversight of its own operational budget, which it reports out on publicly.
The $63.7M one-time policing transition budget is also on track. The Board reports on where these funds are being spent, including those spent on IT capital expenditures ($2.4M year-to-date).
You can view all financial updates on the Police Board website under “News & Publications”.
Thinking of a Career in Policing? Take our Survey
New recruits will be an integral part of the growth of SPS during the policing transition and beyond. We’re building a team that reflects the community we serve, inclusive of all ethnicities, cultures, genders, and sexual orientations.
In order to learn about the challenges and barriers that may exist for some community members in pursuing a career in policing, we have developed a short survey.
If you are considering a career in policing, we encourage you to complete this survey before August 31st.
Hiring and Deployment Update
In alignment with the SPS-RCMP HR Strategy and Plan, SPS is preparing to deploy our next group of officers into policing operations on July 25th. This deployment marks an important milestone as we will surpass the 100 mark of SPS officers deployed into the community. These officers are responding to calls for service and working in a number of specialized units to support public safety, alongside the Surrey RCMP.
SPS has now hired 237 police officers (86% from the Lower Mainland), and 52 civilian employees. Our hiring continues for our fall onboarding classes, as well as for select civilian positions.
Chief Constable Lipinski provided an update on the continuing growth of SPS on CKNW’s Mike Smyth show earlier this month. You can listen to the full interview here.
SPS in the Community
One of the priorities in the SPS 2022 Strategic Plan is the development of our community policing model. Our Q2 Strategic Plan Metrics show our progress in this area. In Q2, SPS had 164 proactive engagements with the community, including 21 engagements with Indigenous rightsholders, and 4 engagements with the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
In July, Constable Grandia and Constable Hanuse participated in the Pulling Together Canoe Journey with the Blue Eagle Cadets. This trip builds relationships between public agencies and Indigenous communities.
Our officers also attended a number of community events recently including Surrey Canada Day, Surrey Fest, Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club Open House, Youth Nations Cup, and the Eid Al Adha event hosted by the BC Muslim Association. On July 23-24, the SPS tent will be up at the Surrey Fusion Festival.
Follow our community activities on Twitter through our #TogetherintheCommunity series.
In Case You Missed It
SPS 2021-2022 Report to the Community
Experienced Officers Information Session (recording)
A Message from the Chief Constable
On behalf of the Surrey Police Board and Surrey Police Service (SPS), I am pleased to present our 2021/2022 Report to the Community, which is now available on our website.
Building a brand-new police service continues to be an exciting and busy task. Over the past 12 months we have marked many milestones and overcome many challenges.
As of May 2022, SPS has over 275 employees, two unions representing staff, our first recruit class at the Justice Institute of BC Police Academy, and 85 officers deployed into policing operations in Surrey. In just the past year we also unveiled the SPS uniform and police vehicle design, completed our first strategic plan, signed our first collective agreement, and worked with the RCMP to develop an approved plan that will guide our respective human resources as phase one of the policing transition continues.
There is no blueprint for how to transition a police service of this size. It has required innovation, consultation, and hard work. It is also critically important that we do not squander this opportunity to create a policing model that works for today’s world and for Surrey’s needs. We cannot simply accept what was done in the past, or the ‘status quo’ of policing. Our world has changed, and so must our policing model.
Most commonly, citizens want to know how SPS will be different. Ultimately, it boils down to two important factors that set us apart: responsiveness and local accountability.
As a local, municipal police service, SPS will be able to quickly respond to Surrey’s changing public safety needs. Crime requires quick action and SPS is built to respond to community needs very quickly. Our accountability starts with having an independent police board, and continues with the regular sharing of information with the public – from financials, to community consultation results, to updates on the policing transition.
Through it all, we never lose focus on the fact that we are building a police service for the citizens of Surrey – Surrey Police Service is being designed, from day one, for Surrey. That is our commitment to you.
Please enjoy our 2021/2022 Report to the Community.
Chief Constable Norm Lipinski
SPS-RCMP Plan Maps out Deployments & Demobilizations
Surrey’s policing transition is well underway with 66 Surrey Police Service (SPS) officers deployed into policing operations and another deployment scheduled for late May.
The recently approved SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy and Plan (read news release and fact sheet) will guide the continuing implementation of the first phase of the policing transition. The plan outlines the deployment of SPS officers every two months, and the related demobilization of RCMP officers until May 2023. Over the next year, it is expected that 225 more SPS officers will be deployed, and up to 195 RCMP officers will be demobilized in Surrey. The RCMP remain in command of policing for Surrey during this phase.
The planning will continue on several important elements to advance the policing transition, including the path to the change of command from the RCMP to SPS. The maintenance of consistent policing service levels and the preservation of public and officer safety continue to be the predominant considerations throughout this process.
New Recruits and More Experienced Officers Join SPS
Over the past month, SPS welcomed its first class of new recruits and more experienced police officers to the SPS family.
Following a two-week orientation, our 14 new recruits (some pictured above) were officially sworn into SPS on May 6th and presented with their badges as family members, SPS staff, and the Surrey Police Board proudly looked on. The recruits have now started their police training at the Justice Institute of BC. These will be the very first police officers to start their policing careers with SPS.
Chief Lipinski also recently swore in 24 more experienced police officers and welcomed five civilian employees. SPS has now hired a total of 235 police officers and 40 civilian employees. While we continue to hire new recruits (until May 23) and experienced officers (ongoing), SPS has now hired over 50% of our deployment target for 2022.
Find out more about SPS’s career opportunities.
SPS Officers Hit the Streets with the Latest Training
All SPS experienced officers go through a six-week onboarding course that provides advanced operational skills training that is often much more than the officers were expecting.
"The tactical training that's often reserved for specialty units in other organizations was given to all SPS members. It wasn’t just a whiteboard exercise, but live simulations with the most up-to-date police tactics." - Constable Andy Ramage
The latest tactics are based on years of practical experience and research and are often different than past police training. Many of our experienced officers have commented that the SPS training environment is a positive and supportive environment where questions and discussions are encouraged.
Each SPS training officer has an extensive background in specialized police training that includes trauma medic first-aid, use of force, high risk arrests, and Gracie Survival Tactics (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).
"As an experienced police officer, I found the training to be exceptional. Each of the subjects took a new, more advanced approach than what I had experienced in the past." - Constable John Hogan
While the need to train in use of force tactics is a reality in policing, SPS is proud of the emphasis instructors put on the Integrated Communication and Tactics (ICAT) training, which reinforces the sanctity of protecting all human life. The goal at every call that SPS officers attend is to reach a peaceful resolution and the use of ICAT dramatically increases the chances of this occurring at non-firearms related critical incidents.
A Message from the Chief Constable
April is an important month for many of Surrey’s diverse communities and Surrey Police Service (SPS) staff with groups celebrating Passover, Easter, and Vaisakhi, as well as commemorating Ramadan and Sikh Heritage Month. With the cancellation of the popular Surrey Vaisakhi parade this year, SPS made a short video to acknowledge this special time for the Sikh community, and I also had the honour of attending the Surrey Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib a few weeks ago. My thanks for the warm welcome
I also recently had the pleasure of attending the Surrey Rotary Club, Surrey Probus Club, and the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce to speak about how SPS will serve the community, and how a municipal police service will provide improved accountability and responsiveness to Surrey citizens. Thank you to these groups for the invitation and for the engaging dialogue.
In addition to our continuing engagement with Surrey communities and organizations, SPS is moving forward with the significant work to build Surrey’s own police service. To-date, we have hired 196 police officers, and 35 civilians, with an eye on experience and skill sets, as well as diversity in gender, culture and background.
To date, the 116 Constables we have hired have an average of over nine years of experience, which is significant at this rank. This means our Frontline officers who will be out on patrol and responding to calls for service will have significant experience behind them, resulting in a top-quality service for Surrey residents.
We are now hiring experienced Constables and Sergeants for our fall 2022 onboarding classes. These positions will be for Frontline policing in our Community Policing Bureau. We will also be opening up our second applicant pool for new recruits between May 2-23, 2022. Information on all of these postings can be found in the “Careers” section of our website.
We are pleased to now have more than 60 SPS officers now taking calls for service in Surrey, with another deployment scheduled for May. This is part of the phased, integrated policing transition Over time, our deployment numbers will grow and, eventually, SPS will become the official police of jurisdiction for Surrey. While the timeline has not yet been set for the transition of policing command, SPS is working hard to ensure we have the technology, equipment, and resources in place to make this a smooth transition.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge an important milestone SPS celebrated this week as we welcomed our first class of new recruits (read the full news release). This is group is made up of 14 very impressive individuals who were selected from over 500 applicants. They all bring extensive volunteer and work experiences, and many have close ties to Surrey. This group will begin their training at the Justice Institute of BC Police Academy shortly, and they will graduate as “Certified Municipal Constables” in March 2023. This is an historic event as this is the first group of police officers who will start – and hopefully finish – their policing careers with Surrey Police Service.
Chief Constable Norm Lipinski
SPS continues to focus on hiring employees who reflect the diversity of Surrey. To-date we have hired 209 sworn officers and civilian employees, with over 40% coming from culturally diverse backgrounds. SPS also continues to recruit a strong representation of women in the organization with our focus on family, parental leave, and wellness. Women currently make up 26% of SPS employees (some pictured above during SPS’s recent celebration of International Women’s Day).
Hiring for SPS’s Community Policing Bureau at the Constable and Sergeant ranks also continues. With all of our spring and early summer onboarding classes now full, we are currently hiring experienced officers for our August and September onboarding classes. For those who want to help build SPS and take advantage of the internal promotional and specialized opportunities in the years ahead, now is the time to apply.
Last week, Chief Constable Lipinski had the honour of presenting 24 experienced officers with their graduation certificates, as they completed their onboarding training. These officers have been assigned to support the development of SPS in a variety of roles while they await operational deployment in Surrey.
Major Milestone: First Collective Agreement Reached
Earlier this month, the Surrey Police Board and the Surrey Police Union (SPU), which represents the sworn police officers of Surrey Police Service (SPS), reached their first collective agreement. This significant milestone provides SPS police officers, from the rank of Constable to Staff Sergeant, with an employment package that focuses on employee wellness and competitive compensation.
The collective agreement will be in effect until December 31, 2024. Highlights of the agreement are available online, and the full collective agreement will be posted on the Surrey Police Board website by mid-April.
From our deployed officers engaging with the public while out on patrol, and our Community Policing Bureau staff conducting regular community consultation meetings, community engagement is a significant focus of SPS. Recent highlights included a visit to Sikh Academy School, a virtual meeting between the Chief’s office and the Métis Nation British Columbia, and a visit to the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib by Chief Lipinski.
A cornerstone of SPS community engagement is giving back to the community. At the end of February, sworn and civilian employees participated in the Coldest Night of the Year walk to raise funds for Cloverdale Community Kitchen. Our SPS team raised over $2,300 which will help support people and families experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger in our community.
On March 16, a number of SPS officers – including Chief Constable Lipinski – will be taking the plunge for BC Special Olympics as part of the annual Polar Plunge fundraising event. This event helps to support programming and activities for an inclusive community. Surrey Police Service | PolarPlunge SOBC (crowdchange.ca).
This fall, five SPS officers will be riding in the Cops for Cancer Tour de Valley to raise funds for childhood cancer research. Training has already begun and you can support the SPS team here: Cops for Cancer Tour De Valley.
Surrey’s transition to a municipal police service is underway. We remain committed to a seamless transition where the safety and wellbeing of the public and policing personnel remain the highest priority. SPS, the Surrey Police Board and the Province of BC all provide regular updates on the progress of the policing transition on their respective websites.
A Message from the Chief Constable
Last week I had the honour of presenting badge number 200 to an experienced police officer who has just joined Surrey Police Service (SPS). This Frontline Constable brings six years of policing experience to SPS as well as a unique and valuable perspective after having worked in one of Canada’s Indigenous police services. I know that he and the other 19 officers who received their badges last week will be great additions to the SPS team. Collectively, this group brings over 185 years of policing experience to Surrey.
We continue to grow each month as our phased hiring continues, in alignment with the target number of SPS officers to be deployed into policing operations this year. The Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC), made up of representatives of the three levels of government, has agreed to a target of 175 more deployed SPS officers in 2022. This is in addition to the first group of SPS officers who began their deployment last November. By the end the year, we anticipate having 225 SPS officers providing direct policing services to Surrey residents. The Surrey RCMP remain in command of policing for Surrey during this first phase of the policing transition.
You can read more about the deployment plans for 2022 in our recent news release. Further details on the upcoming deployments and corresponding demobilization of RCMP officers will be determined as part of the joint SPS-RCMP Human Resources Strategy and Plan, which is currently being developed. You can also find updated information on the continuing development of SPS and Surrey’s policing transition on our website.
We recently released our first strategic plan, which will guide our work at SPS throughout 2022. Using input from our community consultation, our staff and the Surrey Police Board, three strategic priorities were identified: Organizational Development, Employee Development and Wellness, and Community Policing Model Development. You can see the specific areas of development that have been identified, and the associated actions and metrics in our 2022 Strategic Plan.
One significant area of development for this year is technology. We are actively building our IT platforms, which is one of the biggest and most complex pieces of work that SPS must complete. We are growing our team of IT professionals and are working to complete all critical IT infrastructure by the end of 2022.
Continuing our community consultation is another area of focus. Engagement with the community is already a daily part of our work at SPS. Much of our engagement is currently focused around getting to know the local services, understanding the public safety concerns in each town centre, and introducing ourselves. On February 26th, a team of SPS employees will be participating in the Coldest Night of the Year walk in Surrey and raising funds for the Cloverdale Community Kitchen. This annual event supports people experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger in our community, and we are proud to be a part of it.
My sincere thanks to everyone who has taken the time to meet with us, share ideas, and say hello to our officers.
Chief Constable Norm Lipinski
New Year, New Hires
Surrey Police Service (SPS) continues to grow! We started the new year with two swearing-in ceremonies on January 4 and 13, welcoming a total of 40 new employees, including 30 police officers and 10 civilians. We were excited to welcome our first sibling duo - a civilian employee with our Employee Services Section, and a Sergeant who has joined our Investigative Bureau. Combined, these siblings bring an amazing 56 years of policing experience to SPS!
Surrey’s transition to a municipal police service is well underway, and SPS continues to expand with more employees starting every month. To date, 188 talented employees have joined SPS – 29 civilians and 159 police officers. Our experienced officers come from 18 different police agencies and collectively speak 26 different languages. Fifty-five percent of our officer hires are Constables, which is the rank that makes up the largest component of frontline police response.
Our Recruiting Unit is also hard at work processing the 534 applications we received for new recruits. We will be hiring 26 new recruits in the coming months who will begin their police training at the Justice Institute of BC later this year.
Chief Constable Norm Lipinski speaks with Lower Mainland police chiefs on a monthly basis to understand any hiring challenges agencies may be experiencing, and adjust SPS’s hiring and timing 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.
Throughout this policing transition, SPS is committed to ensuring the continuity of public safety here in Surrey and across the Lower Mainland.
Twelve More Officers Hitting the Streets
On January 24, the next 12 SPS police officers will be starting their orientation with the Surrey RCMP, and will begin responding to calls for service not long after.
These officers will join the 29 that were deployed in November, bringing our total number of deployed officers to 41. SPS anticipates the remaining nine officers in the first cohort of 50 will be security cleared by the RCMP to begin operational policing in March. All SPS officers in this cohort have been trained and security cleared to provincial policing standards. However, as they will be temporarily working alongside the Surrey RCMP, they are also required to undergo an RCMP security clearance process.
In case you missed it, SPS officers have now responded to over 1,000 calls for service since deployment began in November 2021. The first group of deployed SPS officers have responded to calls ranging from property crime, to well-being checks, to disturbance and assault files.
We’re Hiring Experienced Officers
SPS is currently hiring experienced officers to help build and grow our Frontline in our Community Policing Bureau. We’re calling on the creative and the brave to bring your unique skill sets and your commitment to community policing to SPS. Help us reimagine policing as we create an innovative and forward-thinking police service.
For more information on the application process, please visit the experienced officers page on our website. To apply as an experienced officer, click here.
SPS now on Instagram
We’re proud to announce our Recruiting and Wellness Units are now on Instagram. Check out @Join_SurreyPS and @Wellness_SurreyPS
You can also keep up to date on all SPS news and developments on Twitter and Facebook.