Chief Constable Norm Lipinski of the Surrey Police Service issued a reminder this week that the Surrey RCMP is still the police department of jurisdiction in this city.
Last week 46 SPS police officers were sworn in, and more will be as hiring continues.
“I must recognize that we are not the police of jurisdiction,” Lipinski told the police board on Tuesday. “This is really for training purposes to get people ready for that time we go live with boots on the ground.”
Board member Elizabeth Model asked him to explain the direction the provincial government provided to SPS officers on their limitations, concerning their duties and functions, prior to its operation being authorized.
“As mentioned, we are not the police of jurisdiction but we are sworn in as police officers,” Lipinski replied. “That is to say that a direction went out from my office that we are not involved, that we are not to be involved overtly in any policing matter, that we would be witnesses or if necessary we would only act when there would be somebody’s life at risk or property damage. So it is incumbent upon our police officers to essentially be a witness and call the RCMP from Surrey as they are the police of jurisdiction.”
“Again,” Lipinski continued, “we are just waiting towards the enactment of when we will go live, boots on the ground, but until that time the RCMP, Surrey detachment, will be the police of jurisdiction.”
Meantime, Lipinski says he’s about one-third the way through consultations with focus groups and community leader, having had six meetings to date, and “very good information is coming from the community pertaining to what they see the forward path is for the Surrey Police Service.”
Lipinski told Surrey’s Police Board on Tuesday that he plans to “tentatively” submit a report to it at its next meeting, set for Sept. 28.
“But we will see how long it takes for the results to be tabulated, summarized and then provided into a written report. Suffice to say, very pleased on the progress to date on the community consultation.”
He said the 2022 budget development process has been started, pertaining to training, facilities and equipment.
“It’s a long process since we do not have a template per se,” he told the board. “But it is moving along very well and we appreciate the assistance of the City of Surrey finance staff.”
As far as policy development for the force, he said the SPS is looking “upwards” of 200 policies looking to employ the “best practices” of police departments across Canada “which will be converted into our street practices, or boots-on-the-ground practices.”