Transition to Surrey Police Service is progressing well, says Chief Constable Norm Lipinski

SURREY Police Service Chief Cinstable Norm Lipinski on Tuesday in a message to Surrey-ites issued the following statement:

“JUNE marks six months that I have been with the Surrey Police Service as the Chief of what will be the newest police service in Canada. Every day, I am acutely aware that this position comes with great responsibility – responsibility to Surrey residents and business owners. You are our partners both in building the Surrey Police Service (SPS), and in its ongoing operations, once SPS is the police of jurisdiction for Surrey.

“A cornerstone of SPS will be a community policing model which requires a collaborative approach to public safety. Ongoing communication and consultation with the public is extremely important to SPS. This monthly “SPS Updates” e-newsletter is one of the ways we will be sharing regular updates on the development of SPS, in addition to our Facebook and Twitter, and news announcements.

“Last week, we announced the launch of our first community consultation initiative, which will help SPS and the Surrey Police Board establish our initial policing priorities and understand the expectations you have of your new police service. This three-part consultation process will include a public safety survey, stakeholder interviews, and focus groups, which will be designed and led by independent research experts. The results will be shared with the community later this year, and we will use the findings to develop SPS’s first strategic plan this fall. This project represents the initial effort of the SPS to engage with the community and is the first of what will be an ongoing dialogue with community stakeholders.

“Following Elections BC’s approval of an application for a petition to conduct a referendum on Surrey policing, I have been asked what impact this will have, if any, on the development of SPS. First, it is important for me to note that the decision on what type of police service a city has (RCMP or municipal), and any debate surrounding that decision, are the responsibility of the city, not the police.

“From our perspective at SPS, the transition from the RCMP to a municipal police service in Surrey is approved and moving ahead. This police transition was unanimously approved by Surrey City Council in 2018, followed by the approval of the Province of BC in 2020. In addition, the Province has previously indicated it is not interested in holding a referendum on this matter, and the Province will continue to be the final decision maker on calling for a referendum, regardless of the outcome of this petition.

“At this time, our mandate to create a modern police service that is tailor-made for Surrey, remains unchanged. The transition to SPS is progressing well. Every day we move forward with this monumental task. Some days the gains are big; other days it’s a series of small, incremental steps. As we often say around the office, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

“Almost every week, our team is joined by new police officers and civilian staff. To date, we have hired more than 70 staff with a wealth of expertise and diverse experiences. As our team grows, so too does our capacity to build an exceptional police service for Surrey. Over the past couple of months, SPS staff have been primarily focused on the recruitment of police officers, policy creation, development of our training program, and procurement of uniforms and personal issue equipment.

“I’m looking forward to the community consultation over the summer, and to hearing your ideas for how SPS can best serve the public.”