Surrey Police Service Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, left, and Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards of the Surrey RCMP. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey Police Service Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, left, and Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards of the Surrey RCMP. (File photo: Lauren Collins)

Opinion

LETTER: Column on Surrey’s policing transition missed mark

As Surrey Police Service chief, I urge residents to tune out politicization of policing, tune into facts

The Editor,

Re: “Surrey citizens owed an explanation on police transition, the Now-Leader, Aug. 11.”

Frank Bucholtz’s recent column on Surrey’s policing transition raised a number of important points about the transition from the RCMP to Surrey Police Service (SPS). However, it contained some incorrect information and conclusions that I would like to address.

The policing transition is being implemented in a phased and controlled manner over a few years in order to ensure a seamless and safe transition.

The process is being guided by the Surrey Policing Transition Trilateral Committee (SPTTC), which is made up of senior representatives of the three levels of government. This committee also determines the pace of the transition.

While SPS is capable of, and would be happy to, increase the pace of the transition, this is not our decision to make. The province also has final authority on when the change of command will happen, and SPS eagerly awaits the decision around this date.

The cost of the policing transition is important to residents, as it should be.

However, the notion that the cost is “unknown” is false. Financial updates for the SPS operational budget and the one-time policing transition budget ($63.7M over five years) are posted regularly at surreypoliceboard.ca. SPS is on track with its 2022 budget.

SEE COLUMN: Surrey citizens owed an explanation on police transition

When it comes to hiring, SPS is not experiencing any hiring challenges whatsoever. We have received more than 1,000 applications for experienced officers and more than 900 for recruits.

The SPTTC determines how many officers we can deploy, which drives how many we hire each year. The SPS-RCMP Human Resources Plan is available at surreypolice.ca.

Bucholtz’s column also questioned police officer duties. SPS currently has 237 police officers. Of these, 120 are deployed into policing operations, 14 are recruits in training, and the remainder are doing critical work to build SPS including work on recruiting, IT, policy development, training, employee wellness, and community consultation. Twenty-seven of these officers are ready for deployment and tasked with other work in the interim.

Again, while SPS is capable of, and would be happy to, increase our officer deployments, this is not our decision to make.

Again, all of this information can be found on our website.

The topic of Surrey’s policing transition is important and continuing dialogue will help us become the police service that Surrey residents want for the future of this city. However, it is important to tune out politicization of policing and tune into the facts on Surrey’s policing transition.

Norm Lipinski, SPS Chief Constable



edit@surreynowleader.com

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