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August 2021

Chief Lipinksi standing in front of a park

Last week the Surrey Police Service (SPS) reached two significant milestones with the confirmation of our initial deployment date and the official certification of the Surrey Police Union, which now represents our sworn police officers (read news releases).  

The Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC), which is made up of senior representatives from the three levels of government, has determined an initial deployment date for SPS. The first group of 50 SPS officers will be operationally deployed beginning on, or before, November 30, 2021. As part of the phased, integrated transition process, these first 50 police officers will be assigned to positions within the RCMP Municipal Police Unit in Surrey (i.e. Surrey RCMP). This first group will be followed by subsequent groups of officers as the transition gathers momentum throughout 2022 and 2023.   

While there is still work to be done to prepare for this first deployment, there are numerous working groups assigned to meeting this timeline. The SPS will be more than ready to meet the November 30 date. To-date, we have hired over 70 sworn officers, with more coming on board almost every week. In total, SPS has received over 1,100 applications so far. Personal issue equipment is starting to arrive, and our first five-week training course for experienced officers will begin in early September. Our work to deploy our officers is well in hand.   

Deputy Chief Constable Mike LeSage works closely with RCMP senior staff in Ottawa on the SPTTC working groups, and they are fully committed to the policing transition and the November 30 deployment date, as are Public Safety Canada, the Province of BC, and the City of Surrey.  

The Surrey Police Union and CUPE 402 (representing our civilian staff) are also fundamental to the ongoing build of SPS. I look forward to working closely with the leadership of each union to provide the best in public safety for the citizens of Surrey, and a supportive and healthy working environment for our police officers and civilian employees.  

This is an exciting time for SPS and for Surrey as we prepare to deploy our first officers into policing operations. As additional details of the phased transition are confirmed, more information will be shared so you know what to expect when Surrey Police Service officers begin to respond to calls for service in this fall, alongside Surrey RCMP members.  

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski  

Past Newsletters

Chief Norm Lipinksi

June marks six months that I have been with the Surrey Police Service as the Chief of what will be the newest police service in Canada. Every day, I am acutely aware that this position comes with great responsibility – responsibility to Surrey residents and business owners. You are our partners both in building the Surrey Police Service (SPS), and in its ongoing operations, once SPS is the police of jurisdiction for Surrey. 

A cornerstone of SPS will be a community policing model which requires a collaborative approach to public safety. Ongoing communication and consultation with the public is extremely important to SPS. This monthly “SPS Updates” e-newsletter is one of the ways we will be sharing regular updates on the development of SPS, in addition to our Facebook and Twitter, and news announcements.  

Last week, we announced the launch of our first community consultation initiative, which will help SPS and the Surrey Police Board establish our initial policing priorities and understand the expectations you have of your new police service. This three-part consultation process will include a public safety survey, stakeholder interviews and focus groups, which will be designed and led by independent research experts. The results will be shared with the community later this year, and we will use the findings to develop SPS’s first strategic plan this fall. This project represents the initial effort of the SPS to engage with the community and is the first of what will be an ongoing dialogue with all community stakeholders. 

Following Elections BC’s approval of an application for a petition to conduct a referendum on Surrey policing, I have been asked what impact this will have, if any, on the development of SPS. First, it is important for me to note that the decision on what type of police service a city has (RCMP or municipal), and any debate surrounding that decision, are the responsibility of the city, not the police. From our perspective at SPS, the transition from the RCMP to a municipal police service in Surrey is approved and moving ahead. This police transition was unanimously approved by Surrey City Council in 2018, followed by the approval of the Province of BC in 2020. In addition, the Province has previously indicated it is not interested in holding a referendum on this matter, and the Province will continue to be the final decision maker on calling for a referendum, regardless of the outcome of this petition.  

At this time, our mandate to create a modern police service that is tailor-made for Surrey, remains unchanged. The transition to the SPS is progressing well. Every day we move forward with this monumental task. Some days the gains are big; other days it’s a series of small, incremental steps. As we often say around the office, this is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Almost every week, our team is joined by new police officers and civilian staff. To date, we have hired more than 70 staff with a wealth of expertise and diverse experiences. As our team grows, so too does our capacity to build an exceptional police service for Surrey. Over the past couple of months, SPS staff have been primarily focused on the recruitment of police officers, policy creation, development of our training program, and procurement of uniforms and personal issue equipment.  

I’m looking forward to the community consultation over the summer, and to hearing your ideas for how SPS can best serve the public.  

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski