Maintaining the Surrey RCMP
Get the latest on Surrey’s plan to retain the RCMP
Retaining the RCMP
In December 2022, City of Surrey Council approved a comprehensive and affordable plan to retain the Surrey RCMP as police of jurisdiction, and submitted the plan to the Province of British Columbia. The RCMP has been the police of jurisdiction in Surrey since 1951.
In April 2023, the Province recommended that the City transition to the Surrey Police Service (SPS), but was clear that the choice of policing model rest with the City. In June 2023, Council re-affirmed its choice to maintain the RCMP as police of jurisdiction.
Then in July 2023, the Province ordered Surrey to continue with the police transition to the SPS. The City commenced legal action in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on October 13, 2023, challenging the provincial order.
Why does Council want to keep the RCMP?
After careful considering of the information, it was clear to Council that the provincially-ordered police transition would cost Surrey taxpayers hundreds of millions while delivering no public safety benefit to Surrey.
Council based their decision on the following facts:
- The SPS would cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars:
- The SPS would cost taxpayers a minimum of $31.9 million more annually, compared to the RCMP.
- City costs would increase by a minimum of $464 million over the next 10 years.
- A double-digit tax hike would be the direct result of the provincial order, costing each taxpayer thousands of dollars.
- There is no evidence the police transition would benefit public safety:
- The proposed transition was poorly conceived, planned, and implemented.
- Today, 75% of police officers in Surrey are with the RCMP.
- The SPS has hired 132 officers receiving full compensation who are not deployed.
- The SPS is nowhere near having the frontline officers to become the police of jurisdiction.
- SPS recruitment will have a significant destabilizing effect on policing throughout the Lower Mainland.
The Province recently introduced unprecedented changes to the BC Police Act designed to give it the power to force the police transition on Surrey. The proposed changes include provisions intended to take control of policing away from local governments across British Columbia. The City is reviewing its legal options and considering next steps in light of this legislation.
Actions to date
November 20, 2023
The City issued a media release announcing it is amending its petition in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to challenge the constitutionality of the Province’s recent amendments to the Police Act.
October 13, 2023
The City issued a media release regarding its filing of a petition with the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a judicial review of the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s decision on July 19, 2023 that the City must transition to the Surrey Police Service (SPS). This matter is now before the Court.
July 19, 2023
The Minister announced on that he has directed the City of Surrey to continue the transition to an independent municipal police service and to continue the establishment of the SPS as the police of jurisdiction. The Minister also announced the appointment of Jessica McDonald as a Strategic Implementation Advisor for the transition.
The Mayor issued a statement indicating that the City is reviewing this announcement and considering its options with respect to next steps on the transition.
September 11, 2023
Council received a corporate report with a policing transition update (R146; 2023) for information outlining the current status of the transition work following the decision by the Minister to require the City to continue the transition.
Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards, Officer in Charge of the Surrey RCMP, and Chief Constable Norm Lipinski of the Surrey Police Service attended the Council meeting to provide further information on the transition.
Video of the Council meeting is available.
June 15, 2023
November 14, 2022
During the regular council meeting, Surrey Council approved a plan to retain Surrey RCMP as police of jurisdiction. Corporate Report R199: Police Transition Update.
The City and the RCMP have communicated their shared commitment to ensuring the steps and actions in the Policing Surrey plan are implemented in a timely manner following approval to ensure adequate and effective policing in Surrey in a way that provides continued public and officer safety and continues to adhere to the Municipal Police Unit Agreement. Review the full plan in Corporate Report No. R209.