September is synonymous with ‘back to school’, and that holds true for many Surrey Police Service (SPS) employees as well.
Our second class of recruits just started their police training at the Justice Institute of BC, our first class of recruits began training in the field, and our ninth class of experienced officers will begin their onboarding later this month.
As for the rest of us, we continue to work hard to develop a police service that is tailored to Surrey’s public safety needs. Our current areas of focus include research and consultation to develop strategies for Indigenous policing, youth engagement and gang prevention.
On the organizational side, our attention is on our technology infrastructure, recruitment and readying SPS to become the police of jurisdiction.
The SPS data centre, which houses all of the critical applications and data for SPS, is now operational. We have secured access to the province’s justice information system (JUSTIN), and the Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME). SPS has also procured the required equipment for our first branded police vehicles, which will be arriving soon.
We are working with our policing transition partners to determine when you will see SPS vehicles on the streets.
To date, we have hired 274 sworn police officers and 54 civilian employees, making SPS the second largest municipal police agency in B.C. Of our 274 officers, 120 have been deployed, 28 are recruits in training, 25 are in our experienced officer training, and the remainder are doing critical work that includes recruiting, IT, training, community consultation, and policy development.
We are often asked about the pace of the transition from the RCMP to SPS, and when SPS will take over command of policing. The policing transition is being implemented in a phased manner over a few years in order to ensure a seamless and safe transition.
The process is being guided by the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC), which is made up of senior representatives of the three levels of government. This committee also determines the pace of the policing transition.
We are currently in phase one of the policing transition, which started in November 2021. During this phase, SPS officers are integrated into the Surrey RCMP detachment every two months, and RCMP officers are gradually demobilized, as outlined in the Human Resources Plan, which is posted on our website.
Phase two will be the change of command from the RCMP to SPS as SPS becomes the police of jurisdiction for Surrey. The timeline for phase two is being confirmed by the SPTTC.
A policing transition of this magnitude has not been done in Canada before, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which all three levels of government have approached this project, and the careful consideration they give to Surrey residents, RCMP and SPS officers, and the civilian support staff.
We are making great progress and I am very proud of the policing service that we are building for and with Surrey citizens.
Norm Lipinski is the Chief Constable of the Surrey Police Service.