Surrey Police Service (SPS) and the Surrey Police Board have released the 2021-2022 Report to the Community to inform the public about the development of Surrey’s new municipal police agency over the past year.
The theme of SPS’s 2021-2022 Report to the Community is “Designed from Day 1 for Surrey”, highlighting how everything from SPS’s hiring, to engagement with the community, to the development of its policing services is being tailored to Surrey communities and their unique public safety needs.
“It is critically important that we do not squander this opportunity to create a policing model that works for today’s world and for Surrey’s needs,” said Chief Constable Norm Lipinski. “We cannot simply accept what was done in the past, or the ‘status quo’ of policing. Our world has changed, and so must our policing model.”
Over the past year, SPS has grown to over 275 employees, including 85 experienced officers deployed into policing operations, and 14 new recruits currently training at the Justice Institute of BC. The police officers have been hired from 20 different police agencies across Canada, with the majority coming from the Lower Mainland, report informs.
SPS’s Report to the Community provides information on how SPS is creating a culture of wellness for staff from from benefits, to onsite Operational Stress Injury dog, to the wrap-around services Employee Services Section provides to staff.
SPS is also working to keep the public and officers safer through enhanced de-escalation training, and demonstrating accountability through increased access to information. “While the need for use of force tactics is a reality in policing, SPS training emphasizes various de-escalation tactics to all officers. These include the Integrated Communication and Tactics (ICAT) training, which reinforces the sanctity of protecting all human life, as well as Gracie Survival Tactics and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.”
The Report also includes 2021 financials for both SPS and the policing transition, hiring statistics, strategic priorities and action items, and the work of the Police Board. The Policing Transition Project One-Time Fund 2020-2024 is $63,684,000.
Surrey is currently in phase one of its policing transition, during which SPS officers are integrated into the Surrey RCMP detachment every two months. According to the report, Phase 2 of the policing transition will focus on the change of command from the RCMP to SPS. The timeline for SPS to become the police of jurisdiction has yet to be determined, and will ultimately require approval by the Province of BC. SPS is currently working to ensure the required policies, procedures, equipment, and technology are in place for SPS to take over responsibility for policing in Surrey.
“It is hard to believe that it has been just two years since the Surrey Police Board was established, when we consider the significant milestones Surrey Police Service and the Board have achieved,” said the Surrey Police Board in their message inside the Report. “From signing a collective agreement with the Surrey Police Union to hiring our 200th police officer, we have made incredible progress while keeping public and officer safety as our foundational principal.”