Surrey’s policing transition is underway with the first group of experienced Surrey Police Service (SPS) officers now deployed into policing operations.
The transition from the RCMP to Surrey’s own municipal police service has been in the works for the past three years, with the three levels of government, RCMP and SPS working diligently to ensure this transition does not destabilize policing in Surrey or across the Lower Mainland.
With SPS’s need to hire over 800 police officers, how and when those officers are hired continues to be an important topic of conversation in all Lower Mainland police agencies.
SPS has implemented a number of strategies to ensure its hiring does not negatively impact any particular agency or community. Hiring is being staggered over a number of years, in alignment with the phased, integrated transition plan. To date, 140 officers have been hired by SPS, coming from 19 different police agencies across Canada. A joint SPS-RCMP human resources plan is currently being developed, which will inform the number of officers SPS will hire in 2022, and how many officers the RCMP will demobilize in Surrey.
SPS 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 with either experienced officers or new recruits through the Justice Institute of BC.
The Province of BC plays a significant role on the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee, which was established to guide and support the integrated RCMP/SPS transition. The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is responsible for ensuring adequate and effective policing is maintained throughout BC. This includes consideration of the potential regional, provincial, and local impacts of the transition, and to provide guidance to the Surrey Police Board regarding an appropriate target for SPS’s hiring next year.
“Recruiting is a regular part of business for all police agencies, and we welcome all applicants who are interested in a new career opportunity with SPS. However, we always keep an eye on the bigger picture to ensure public safety is not compromised throughout the Lower Mainland,” says Chief Constable Norm Lipinski.
A policing transition of this magnitude is unprecedented in Canada. It has required — and continues to require — collaboration and extensive planning. Stay up to date on the policing transition by visiting the “Transition” page on the SPS website: www.surreypolice.ca/about/policing-transition.