Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum poses with an example of a Surrey Police cruiser after his State of the City Address at Civic Hotel. (File photo)

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum poses with an example of a Surrey Police cruiser after his State of the City Address at Civic Hotel. (File photo)

BREAKING NEWS

Surrey Police will replace RCMP, government confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

It’s hello Surrey Police, goodbye Surrey RCMP.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said Canada’s largest RCMP detachment has served the city well over the years.

“The reason we’re changing is our growth has taken us beyond the ability of the RCMP to do this,” he said.

Surrey is Canada’s largest city to not have its own police force, at least until now.

The provincial government announced Thursday morning that the City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force but no timeline has yet been provided for when the new force will begin patrolling the city’s streets.

Wally Oppal, who was put in charge of overseeing the transition plan, said Solicitor General Mike Farnworth under Section 23 of the Police Act “has authorized and sanctioned the City of Surrey to establish its own police force. The mayor will make the formal announcement later on this morning.”

At Surrey council’s inaugural meeting on Nov. 5th, 2018 it served notice to the provincial and federal governments it is ending its contract with the RCMP – which has policed these parts since May 1, 1951 – to set up its own force.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth on Aug. 22, 2019 gave the city the go-ahead to pursue the plan. Last November Mayor Doug McCallum said Surrey Police officers could be patrolling alongside the Surrey RCMP by next summer, despite there being no agreement in place to see this happen. Oppal said that timeline is “ambitious,” but McCallum stuck to that date Thursday.

McCallum held a press conference at 10 a.m., at city hall.

“This is the final step to guarantee that we will now have our Surrey Police Department,” he said. “In just over one year, we moved from a unanimous council motion to full reality on our promise to deliver to the citizens of Surrey a city police department. With Minister Farnworth’s final approval to establish the Surrey Police Board, today marks day one for the Surrey Police Department.”

READ ALSO: New Surrey Police force ‘swallowing up’ city’s funds, Annis says

READ ALSO BACK IN THE SADDLE: What Surrey can expect from Doug McCallum 2.0

READ ALSO: Premier Horgan to see ‘tsunami of resistance’ against Surrey’s plan to sink RCMP

As for the cost, McCallum says the salary gap between the RCMP and the new city police will be “only a few per cent” because of the RCMP unionizing. ‬He said police officers have already been applying from Calgary, Edmonton, Ontario and the Maritimes. “People want to live here,” he said.

“The time has come, and some would say it’s been long overdue, for Surrey to have a police force of its own where accountability begins and stays within our city,” McCallum said. “Local responsibility, priorities and oversight will reside within the Surrey Police Board, which will be comprised of ourt most qualified. City staff will be working diligently with the province to put the Surrey Police Board in place. I look forward to beginning the work with my fellow Board members to bring Surrey Police to full operational strength.”

Said McCallum, “Our residents are very happy that we have our own Surrey police department.”

READ ALSO: Wally Oppal says policing ‘too important’ to be left to the police

READ ALSO: Surrey RCMP boss Brian Edwards on moving forward, and what keeps him awake at night

READ ALSO: Surrey’s new top cop doesn’t believe residents have lost faith in the RCMP

Terry Waterhouse, general manager in charge of the policing transition for the City of Surrey, said on the issues of pensions and collective agreements, that a pension transfer agreement is in place with the RCMP which allows Mounties, upon being hired by the new Surrey Police, to apply to transfer their pension into the pension plan all officers of municipal police are members of.

“We have established that the salary and benefits will be in keeping with other B.C. municipal departments,” Waterhouse said. “We also have a process in place to support municipal employees’ transition into the new structure.”

Waterhouse said once the police board is set up, it will be presented with a detailed recruitment plan that outlines the process to recruit a chief constable and executive team, as well as police officers.

“While there will be a number of previously experienced officers hired by the Surrey Police department, there also will be new recruits,” Waterhouse said. “We’ve been working with the Justice Institute of B.C., where the B.C. police academy is housed, to ensure they can accommodate ongoing increases in recruit training that will result from the establishment of the Surrey Police department.”

READ ALSO: ‘This situation is discouraging’: Surrey’s top cop responds to police force approval

READ ALSO: Surrey councillors ‘very disappointed’ as B.C. gives final approval of city police force

Asked what will happen to the current officer in charge of the Surrey RCMP, Waterhouse replied, “I would suggest that’s a question separate for the RCMP.”

Will the new police force occupy the Surrey RCMP detachment buildings in Newton?

“Those plans will be worked out,” Waterhouse said.

Lisa Anderson, assistant deputy minister for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said in coming days the ministry will work with the Crown agency and Board Resourcing Office to post the notice for positions of the new police board for Surrey.

“There will be a vetting process by ministry staff,” she said. “They will conduct interviews as part of that process and then the short list will move forward to the Director of Police Services for interviews that she will conduct. Following that there will be police record checks.”

Board appointments are done by an Order in Council by the Lieutenant Governor. The board’s primary responsibilities, Anderson explained, include “being the employer” of all police and civilian employees of the Surrey Police, financial oversight, establishing policies and providing direction for the department. “As well, they manage any policy or service complaints against the department.”

There can be a maximum of nine appointees, she said. “The chair is the mayor of the municipality, and then the city council is able to elect one member and provide that recommendation to the minister. The remaining positions will be filled through the appointment process as recommended by the minister.”

Anderson said that for the “initial function” of the police board the province will appoint five members. “So the police board in Surrey, when it first commences, will have seven members “with consideration to add the remaining to positions at a future point in time, a necessary.”

READ ALSO: Solicitor General has ‘no illusions’ about acrimony over Surrey’s police transition

READ ALSO: Surrey Police to work with integrated teams during transition from RCMP

– With files by Lauren Collins



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

City of Surrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Surrey, which would be in what the BCCDC refers to as the Panorama community, on Friday, May 7, 2021. Roughly 400 people pre-registered to get their vaccine the week before. (Photo: Lauren Collins
Surrey communities recording more COVID-19 cases also seeing lower vaccination rates

Those same communities were highlighted in the SPEAK survey, which highlighted disparities in the city

Twenty-nine staff members at Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. in Newton have tested positive for the virus, according to an information bulletin from Fraser Health Saturday (May 8). The health authority issued a 10-day closure order, effective May 7. (Image: Google Maps)
29 staff test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey poultry processing plant

Meantime, outbreak over at Surrey Memorial Hospital

The College of Massage Therapists of B.C. says Van (William) Dinh, a registered massage therapist in Surrey and Langley, has had his licence suspended while an inquiry committee panel investigates allegations of sexual misconduct. (Unsplash photo)
Surrey massage therapist suspended amid sexual misconduct investigation

CMTBC received complaint Van (William) Dinh allegedly exposed ‘sensitive areas of the patient’s body’

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
Surrey woman a face of World Ovarian Cancer Day campaign in London, New York

‘It’s so important we find better treatments,’ Catherine Eiswerth says

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Vancouver Giants earned a 6-2 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets Friday night, May 7, in Kamloops (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants down Kelowna Rockets 6-2

Two short-handed goals for Langley-based team

Most Read