- November 2018 – the City of Surrey voted unanimously to terminate its agreement with the RCMP and move to a municipal police department.
- May 2019 – the City of Surrey submitted its Surrey Policing Transition Report to Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, for review and approval in his capacity as solicitor general.
- August 2019 – Farnworth and Doug McCallum, mayor of Surrey, released a joint statement stating the City of Surrey was given the green light required to establish Surrey’s municipal police department.
- August 2019 – the Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee, chaired by Wally Oppal, was established to ensure all key issues and complex details were thoroughly addressed in the city’s transition plan.
- January 2020 – the committee submitted its report to B.C.’s director of police services.
- February 2020 – the director recommended to the minister to establish a police board for the transition to a municipal police department in the City of Surrey.
- February 2020 – the minister granted approval to create a municipal police board for the City of Surrey, the next stage in the city’s plan to transition to a municipal police department.
Establishment of a police board:
- Under the Police Act, a municipal police board, which requires the approval of the minister of public safety and solicitor general to be established, is required to establish and govern a municipal police department.
- The establishment of a new police board will take place over the coming months.
- Parties involved in the establishment of a new police board include the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, director of police services, minister of public safety and solicitor general, Crown Agency and Board Resourcing Office (CABRO), Legal Services Branch, cabinet, Office of the Lieutenant Governor in Council and Order in Council (OIC) Office.
- The ministry will initiate the process to establish a police board by posting a notice of position (NOP) on the CABRO website.
- The NOP will be posted for four weeks to recruit prospective candidates. Once closed, CABRO will route all online applicants to the ministry for screening and to identify suitable candidates to interview.
- Ministry staff will interview candidates and provide a list of recommendations to the director, who will then conduct secondary suitability interviews.
- Police record checks will be conducted on successful applicants. The director of police services, in accordance with their statutory authority, will make recommendations to the minister of public safety and solicitor general about appointments to the board, based on the overriding principle of merit.
- Police board members must be appointed by an OIC by the lieutenant governor.
- Once established, the Surrey police board and the Surrey police department will be subject to oversight by the director of police services, who has the statutory responsibility to superintend policing throughout B.C.
Role of a police board:
- Police boards have four main governance functions:
- employer of the police and civilian employees;
- provide financial oversight for the police department;
- establish policies and direction for the department; and
- manage service and policy complaints against the department.
- A municipal police board consists of:
- the mayor, who acts as board chair;
- one person appointed by the municipal council; and
- up to seven people appointed by the lieutenant governor in council.
- A police board can have a maximum of nine appointees. Initially, the Surrey police board will have seven members, which includes five members appointed by the Province, one member selected by the municipality and the mayor, who will serve as chair of the board. The option to add two additional board members will be considered at a later date.
- Initial board appointments will range from one- to three-year terms.
- The director will communicate all expectations of the police board to establish a new police department to the board once the board is established.
Hiring of police chief and law enforcement officers:
- In line with the Police Act, a municipal police board is required to establish and govern a municipal police department.
- Once a police board is appointed, the board will be required to hire a chief constable.
- Once the chief constable is selected, efforts can be made to hire additional exempt positions.
- Hiring of unionized positions can only begin once a collective agreement has been negotiated.
- The proposed model for the Surrey police department recommends a progressive scale up of the new department while maintaining a fully funded police service at least equivalent to the current state and increasing in future years.
- The Province does not have a role in staffing a municipal police department.
- All decisions and responsibilities regarding direct costs for the Surrey police department rest with the City of Surrey and the Surrey police board, once established.
- The operational structure of the Surrey police department will be determined by the police board and chief constable.
- The process for transferring investigative files from one police agency to another will be determined and co-ordinated by the RCMP, the police board and the chief constable. This will ensure a seamless transition that maintains the integrity of investigations and victims, and ensures other involved persons will not be negatively impacted.
- The proposed model for the Surrey police department recommends maintaining participation in the integrated teams consistent with the levels that currently exist through the Surrey RCMP.
- There are provisions in the existing policing agreements that address the process for transferring assets such as computers, tactical gear, uniforms and vehicles. These processes will be initiated and outcomes determined by the RCMP and the police board.
To read B.C.’s Police Act for information on legislation and regulation related to policing in B.C., visit: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96367_01
For more information on the Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office, visit: gov.bc.ca/cabro
For B.C.’s written guidelines for appointments to public-sector organizations, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/services-for-government/public-sector-management/appointments