SURREY RCMP Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards and Surrey Police Service Chief Constable Norm Lipinski on Tuesday announced that the first group of experienced police officers with Surrey Police Service (SPS) will be assuming operational policing duties, following an orientation with Surrey RCMP that began on November 29.
As part of a phased, integrated policing transition, SPS officers will primarily be supporting frontline operations within the RCMP Municipal Policing Unit (Surrey RCMP) with a small number assigned to the General Investigation Unit, providing 24/7 support on Major Crime investigations.
During this initial phase of the policing transition, the Surrey RCMP will continue to be in command as the police force of jurisdiction, overseeing all operational policing matters and the delivery of policing programs and services.
While the public can expect to see officers in both the RCMP and SPS uniforms responding to calls for service, all contact information and police station locations remain the same. The public will continue to report crime and suspicious activity to the Surrey RCMP non-emergency number at 604-599-0502 (911 for emergencies) or report online.
“Our top priority throughout this transition is and will remain public safety,” said Edwards. “Our officers have a long history of dedicated service to our community. We have a strong working relationship with Chief Constable Lipinski and SPS, and we share a commitment to keeping our community safe.”
“A policing transition of this magnitude is unprecedented in Canada. It has required – and continues to require – collaboration and extensive planning between SPS and the RCMP, and between the three levels of government,” said Lipinski. “It also requires careful consideration of the hundreds of employees who are impacted by this transition, as well as all Surrey residents and business owners.”
As part of the onboarding process, SPS will receive a detailed orientation outlining Surrey detachment’s policies and practices. Each SPS officer will be paired up with an experienced Surrey RCMP officer for a few shifts to help familiarize them with policing in Surrey. After the orientation and pairing, SPS officers will be out responding to files, for the time being, in RCMP branded vehicles.
The RCMP and SPS are building a collaborative human resources strategy to ensure the coordination and deployment of SPS officers alongside Surrey RCMP officers. Once this plan has been agreed upon, more SPS officers will begin to deploy into Surrey and Surrey RCMP members will gradually begin transferring to other RCMP detachments or units.
The Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC) is tasked with guiding and supporting the development, negotiation and implementation of a phased transition of policing services in Surrey. The SPTTC is made up of senior representatives from the three levels of government: federal, provincial, municipal.