Surrey Police Service Chief Constable Norm Lipinski told council on Sept. 11 that no SPS officers are working from home after Councillor Pardeep Kooner asked him why the city is paying $8 million per month on the policing transition while SPS officers are being paid but “are not working, and who are sitting at home and who are not deployed as front-line workers?”
“They are working within what we call the core, they are doing HR functions, they are doing training functions,” Lipinski replied. “In order to give you some context, building something from the ground up, you need policies, lesson plans, etcetera. That’s what they’re doing. Should they be deployed, there’s 27 that can be deployed. We have not figured out the plan to implement them, deploy them into Surrey detachment.”
Coun. Rob Stutt suggested the SPS is top-heavy in rank and asked for a breakdown of the SPS by rank.
“I’m not sure what you mean by being top-heavy,” Lipinski replied. He said the SPS currently has about 20 sergeants, fewer staff sergeants than that, 11 or 12 inspectors, and about 180 constables on the street.
“So would that not be a rather top-heavy structure for that amount of constables?” Stutt rejoined.
“I don’t think it is because we’re building an organization and somebody’s got to put in the HR practices, develop the policies, 180 of them, put together the training programs and hire hundreds of people,” Lipinski said.
Stutt said the foundation of policing, as he understands it, is to have officers on the ground, “front-line if you want to call them, on patrol, people that come to your door when you call police, those ranks that we’re referring to are not in that category, I think you’re referring to it as the engine?”
“It’s the core.”
“Councillor, I think we have to keep in mind that in order to get all the people on the front line, 500, 450, that we need the core to hire them which is roughly three to four months, recruits a little bit longer than that to train them appropriately which is six weeks of training, and then to deploy them so that core stays the same, the number grows for the front line. But you need that system in order to make this work,” Lipinski explained.
Said Stutt, “I’m asking you about those people in the core that could be available to serve the citizens of Surrey by taking calls. You don’t need that many people to write policy books.” He opined that having that number of officers doing recruitment and research is “a little excessive compared to the numbers that are required on the streets.”
Lipinski replied that the SPS also has sergeants on the streets, under the Surrey RCMP’s command, and currently the highest-ranking SPS officers on the streets are sergeants.