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Province, Surrey reach agreement on police transition

July 10, 2024 at 2:38 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The B.C. government and the City of Surrey have reached an agreement that will complete the transition to the Surrey Police Service (SPS) by providing oversight, accountability and cost mitigation for residents and businesses in Surrey. 

“The people of Surrey have told both levels of government that they want us to be focused on keeping people safe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minster of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This agreement provides stability, certainty and safety for the people of Surrey. I look forward to working with the mayor and City of Surrey, the Surrey Police Service and the RCMP to complete this transition as quickly as possible, while ensuring safety for Surrey residents.”

Through the agreement, the Province will provide $30 million per year to assist with transition costs until 2029. The agreement also provides a financial guarantee of as much as $20 million per year if SPS salary costs are higher than RCMP costs would be from 2029 to 2034 for actual costs. Surrey fully supports the transition, agrees that a separate police tax is not necessary and will provide space, funding and payroll for the SPS.  

 “Surrey city council has worked hard to ensure that the provincial government would support the police transition beyond its initial $150-million offer,” said Brenda Locke, mayor of Surrey. “With the $250 million now offered by the Province, Surrey council has accepted the provincial funding for the police transition. The new funds from the Province will help to lessen the financial impact of the transition to Surrey taxpayers. City council fully recognizes the service of the RCMP in Surrey. We express our gratitude for everything Surrey RCMP has done to serve and protect our community for the past 70 years with their exemplary service. Through integrated policing units, such as IHIT, RCMP will continue to support the people of Surrey. As we go through this process, council will be constantly working in the best interests of Surrey taxpayers.”  

The SPS will become the police of jurisdiction on Nov, 29, 2024. With this agreement, the city has appointed two leading experts in the policing field, Tonia Enger and Clayton Pecknold to represent the city at the Joint Implementation Table, alongside representatives from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Public Safety Canada, the RCMP and the SPS. This table and the parties represented are leading the largest police transition in Canada.  

The Surrey police board’s budget for 2024-25 fits within Surrey’s financial framework. The budget sets out a plan to hire 526 SPS officers by the end of 2024 making up approximately two-thirds of the city’s authorized policing strength for 2024.  

Surrey is a dynamic, vibrant, growing city. It is expected to become the largest city in B.C. by population by 2029. The SPS will serve people and businesses in the city, working with partners to continue building safe and healthy neighbourhoods.  

Quick Facts:

  • At this point in the transition, the SPS is already the second largest municipal police department in the Province, after the Vancouver Police Department, with 431 sworn officers and support staff.
  • On July 2, 2024, the SPS launched the first 10 SPS-branded vehicles into service and will deploy 20 more cars over the summer as it works toward becoming the police of jurisdiction. 
  • When the SPS becomes the police of jurisdiction on Nov. 29, 2024, the BC RCMP will provide transitional supports for the remainder of the transition period to ensure a seamless transition. 
  • The city’s current authorized policing strength is 785 officers and is scheduled to increase by 25 officers per year, according to the city’s fiscal outlook to reflect the population growth of the Surrey. 
  • The full transition is targeted to be completed in late 2026. 

A backgrounder follows.

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