B.C. government sets November date for Surrey police transition

Policing transition locked in

British Columbia's government has set Nov. 29 as the date when the Surrey Police Service will take over from the RCMP as the city's force of jurisdiction.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says Surrey RCMP will continue to operate and provide support after the official transition, although the Mounties will determine what type of support will be offered.

Farnworth says the transition is taking place under existing provincial and federal procedures and does not require any rule changes.

He says the province wants a "collaborative approach" that doesn't require one force giving up authority to the other.

Surrey Police Service Chief Const. Norm Lipinski says the force currently has 428 staff including 367 sworn officers, and hiring "will ramp up" in light of the transition date announcement.

Farnworth says there is an existing agreement to maintain 834 officers in Surrey between the RCMP and the municipal force, and the Mounties will redeploy as the Surrey Police Service hires more officers.

The police transition in Surrey has been an active battlefront between the province and the city's municipal government, with Mayor Brenda Locke elected in 2022 on a promise to retain the RCMP.

Locke and Surrey's city council earlier this year rejected an offer from the province to provide another $100 million to the municipal government on top of an original offer of $150 million for the added costs of transitioning to an independent police force.

Farnworth said after the rejection that the province would move ahead with the transition.

The municipal government is challenging the provincial order for the transition in the B.C. Supreme Court, saying the change in the Police Act places limits on voters’ freedom of expression.

Locke said at the time that court proceedings would begin on April 29.

More BC News