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 will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province 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.”

The Now-Leader is seeking reaction from Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards, who took over command of the Surrey RCMP on Jan. 6.

“We’re still taking it all in,” said Constable Richard Wright, a media liaison officer with the detachment.

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.”

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.”

– 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

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

No unused COVID-19 vaccines are going to waste at the end of… Continue reading

Where urban and natural landscapes meet can be a very interesting place. The Museum at Campbell River and Greenways Land Trust are hosting a talk on Earth Day on that topic. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Where urban and natural meet

Earth Day talk looks at urban biodiversity

Ryan Rasmussen goes on a training run on Quadra Island. Photo supplied.
Quadra Island man to run 160 km to raise funds for alternative cancer care

‘I feel like I need to be in pain to raise the money… I can’t do something that’s easy’ — Ryan Rasmussen

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Most Read