The City of Surrey’s transition from an RCMP municipal police unit to its own municipal police department is underway.
The Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC) was established between Public Safety Canada, the Province and the City of Surrey to develop and implement the phased integrated transition of the RCMP to Surrey Police Service (SPS). The RCMP remain the police of jurisdiction.
Timeline (to date):
- Nov. 30, 2021 – The first cohort of 50 SPS officers begin operational deployment within the Surrey RCMP municipal police unit, under the command of the RCMP. The RCMP remains the police of jurisdiction.
- August 2021 – The SPTTC approves an initial deployment date for a group of SPS officers to be operationally deployed beginning on or before Nov. 30, 2021.
- July 2021 – The first 46 SPS officers take their oath and are officially sworn in as SPS officers.
- June 2021 – The Province approves SPS members to take the policing oath, pursuant to section 70 of the Police Act.
- February 2021 – SPS’s executive team is in place, including deputy chief constables Jennifer Hyland, Mike LeSage, and Todd Matsumoto, along with Chief Const. Norm Lipinski.
- December 2020 – Lipinski assumes office.
- November 2020 – Surrey police board appoints Lipinski to be Surrey Police Service’s chief constable.
- September 2020 – The SPTTC is established between Public Safety Canada, the Province and the City of Surrey to develop and implement a phased integrated RCMP/SPS transition and approve the related formal legal agreements, as required.
- July 2020 – The Province provides an orientation and police board governance training session for all Surrey police board members.
- June 2020 – The Province appoints the City of Surrey’s first seven police board members by an Order in Council (OIC) by the lieutenant governor of British Columbia.
- February 2020 – The minister grants approval for the creation of a municipal police board for the City of Surrey, the next stage in the city’s plan to transition to a municipal police department.
- February 2020 – The director recommends to the minister to establish a police board for the transition to a municipal police department in the City of Surrey.
- January 2020 – The committee submits its report to B.C.’s director of police services.
- August 2019 – Provincial Municipal Policing Transition Study Committee, chaired by former attorney general Wally Oppal, is established to ensure all key issues and complex details were addressed in the city’s transition plan.
- August 2019 – Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and Surrey’s mayor, Doug McCallum, release a joint statement stating the City of Surrey was given the green light required to establish Surrey’s municipal police department.
- May 2019 – City of Surrey submits its Surrey Policing Transition Report to Farnworth for review and approval in his capacity as solicitor general.
- November 2018 – City of Surrey votes unanimously to terminate its agreement with the RCMP and move to a municipal police department.
Role of the Province:
- Under B.C.’s Police Act, a municipality of more than 5,000 population has the authority to provide its policing and law enforcement by means of establishing its own municipal police department.
- The minister of public safety and solicitor general is responsible for ensuring adequate and effective policing is maintained throughout the province.
- In addition, the director of police services has a statutory responsibility to superintend policing in the province, including establishing provincial policing standards, inspecting and reporting on policing in accordance with the director’s standards, and ensuring effective police board functioning.
- The Province provides opportunities for training in board governance to all police boards to ensure strong governance and oversight of municipal police departments.
- Before the SPS can assume policing functions on behalf of the City of Surrey as a police agency of jurisdiction, the director of police services must be satisfied that the Surrey police board and SPS has fulfilled all the practical and statutory requirements to operate as a police service in compliance with the Police Act, related legislation, and the B.C. provincial policing standards. The Province will conduct an evaluation to help inform the director’s decision.
- The responsibilities of the director in superintending policing and law enforcement in B.C. are relevant throughout the transition process, as well as when the SPS is operationalized as the police agency of jurisdiction.
- The Municipal Police Service Agreement (MPSA) between the Canada and the Province and the Municipal Police Unit Agreement (MPUA) between the Province and individual municipalities sets out the terms and conditions for the provision of RCMP municipal police services.
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 transition process, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/surrey-police-transition-process
For more information on the RCMP “E” Division, visit: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/detach/en/d/696
For more information on the SPS, visit: https://www.surreypolice.ca/
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