Road to SPS
In 2018, the City of Surrey decided to transition from the RCMP to its own municipal police service. The Province of BC approved this change and work began on the transition from the RCMP to Surrey Police Service (SPS).
Today, the policing transition is well underway with over 200 SPS officers deployed into policing operations, currently under the command of the RCMP. Maintaining effective policing and preserving public safety are the predominant considerations throughout this historic policing transition.
Phase 1 - Blended SPS-RCMP Policing (current)
SPS officers are regularly integrated into the Surrey RCMP detachment, while RCMP officers are redeployed to other RCMP detachments/units. During this phase, SPS officers work under the operational command of the RCMP, which is the current police of jurisdiction. (See section on Phase 1 below for further detail.)
Phase 2 - Change of Command (future)
SPS will become the police of jurisdiction and will take over command of policing in Surrey. The timeline for this phase will be determined by the Province of BC.
- City Council unanimously votes to establish municipal police service
- Province of BC approves Surrey's policing transition
- Civilian Surrey Police Board established
- Board creates Surrey Police Service (SPS)
- First Chief Constable selected by Board
- SPS begins recruiting and hiring sworn and civilian staff
- Phase 1 of the transition begins with first deployment of experienced SPS officers into policing operations
- SPS becomes 2nd largest municipal police agency in BC as hiring and deployments continue
- RCMP begins moving Surrey RCMP officers to other communities
- New City Council votes to retain the RCMP and cancel the transition to SPS
- Province denies Council’s request to retain the RCMP, stating the transition to SPS must be completed to ensure public safety in Surrey and throughout BC
- Province appoints Strategic Implementation Advisor to move the transition forward
- Police Amendment Act, 2023 is passed into law, requiring Surrey to be policed by SPS
- Province suspends appointments of Surrey Police Board members and appoints temporary Board Administrator to advance policing transition
Learn more about Surrey's policing transition and the role of the Province.
Phase 1 - Blended SPS-RCMP policing
In Phase 1 of Surrey’s policing transition, groups of SPS officers are regularly integrated into the Surrey RCMP detachment, as RCMP officers are redeployed to other RCMP detachments/units. These SPS deployments began in November 2021 and today there are over 200 SPS officers serving alongside Surrey RCMP officers.
During this phase of the transition, the RCMP have operational command of policing and all police contact information remains the same (604-599-0502 or 911).
Surrey residents will see some officers wearing RCMP uniforms, and some wearing SPS uniforms. When there is a call for police service in Surrey, an RCMP officer or SPS officers (or both) may show up. Currently, officers from both agencies are driving RCMP-branded police vehicles; SPS-branded vehicles will be introduced at a later date.
This blended policing model will continue until SPS is fully staffed and the transition is complete. SPS will take over operational command of policing (Phase 2) before the transition is complete, however the timeline for this change in police of jurisdiction has not yet been determined by the Province of BC.
Financial updates for the SPS operational budget and the one-time policing transition budget are posted regularly on the Surrey Police Board website.
SPS's 2024 provisional budget is $141.5M. Based on the City of Surrey’s current financial reports, our 2024 budget accounts for only 42% of the City's allocated policing funds. Read more about our 2024 budget here.
The one-time policing transition budget was established by City Council to support the infrastructure development of SPS over five years, covering start-up expenses including equipment and IT. In 2020, this budget was increased to $63.7M following decision to build new IT infrastructure rather than using the current aging technology.
The unionization of the RCMP has increased costs for all RCMP-policed municipalities, closing the gap in costs between the RCMP and municipal police. In addition, the federal 10% cost-share that comes with RCMP contract service comes with a cost to the municipality, as it allows the RCMP and governments to retain some control over detachment resources, including deployments to emergencies and major events.
Surrey Police Service is an investment in the future of our rapidly developing city. Public safety is an area where you want the best service, not the least expensive.
The hiring of SPS officers is aligned with human resources (HR) plans that are agreed to by the transition parties. These plans guide the deployment of SPS officers and demobilization of RCMP officers.
In total, SPS plans to have 860 officers by the end of 2027. This is aligned with the number of officers approved for policing in the City of Surrey’s 2023-2027 Financial Plan (734 officers plus 25-26 additional officers per year, as noted in Corporate Report F004 p. 4).
SPS regularly hires both recruits and experienced officers. Recruits are hired for the three annual Police Academy classes at the Justice Institute of BC. They undergo ten months of training and are then deployed in Surrey. Experienced officers are hired for upcoming deployments and to support the extensive work required to build a police agency. Like any organization that is staffing up, SPS needs to hire an appropriate mix of ranks, experience levels, and skill sets to ensure we have the proper structure, supervision, and mix of job functions as we grow.
SPS implemented several strategies to ensure our hiring does not destabilize policing in the region:
- Staggered hiring
- Recruiting locally and nationally (SPS officers come from 25 different agencies)
- Consultation with police chiefs to understand any of their hiring/staffing challenges
- Not over-hiring from any one police agency – particularly smaller agencies
SPS Staffing (as of Feb 2024)
- Sworn Police Officers: 357
- Senior Officers: 29
- Staff Sergeants: 18
- Sergeants: 78
- Constables: 223
- Females: 72 (20%); Males: 285 (80%)
- Visible Minorities (self-identified): 154 (43%); Indigenous: 18 (5%)
- Civilian Employees: 60
The deployment of SPS officers into policing operations is being done in phased and integrated manner to ensure a seamless and safe transition. Currently, SPS officers work under the operational command of the RCMP, which is the police of jurisdiction at this time. SPS will take over command of policing as the transition progresses.
Groups of SPS officers are regularly integrated into the Surrey RCMP detachment, as RCMP officers are redeployed to other RCMP detachments/units. These group deployments began in November 2021 and today there are over 200 SPS officers deployed into policing operations within the Surrey RCMP detachment.
SPS officers are currently deployed to:
- Frontline policing
- Investigative sections
- Gang enforcement
- Traffic services
- Police mental health outreach
- Community response
The SPS officers who are not currently deployed into the RCMP detachment are serving other important functions:
- Those who are waiting for deployment spots to become available in the RCMP are temporarily doing work to support the building of SPS.
- Other officers are serving in the policing administrative positions they were hired for. Like all police agencies, SPS has a number of administrative and support units such as Recruiting, Employee Services/HR, and Training. While the officers in these units are not ‘deployed’ into the blended SPS/RCMP operations, they are actively performing the jobs they were hired to do. Ensuring a timely transition to SPS will reduce costs by eliminating the administrative overlap of running two police agencies in Surrey.
- June 2020: Province of BC establishes Surrey Police Board
- August 2020: Police Board creates Surrey Police Service
- November 2020: Chief Constable selected
- January - February 2021: Deputy Chiefs hired
- March 2021: Agreement signed for CUPE 402 to represent civilian employees
- May 2021: SPS crest, vision and values revealed
- June 2021: SPS launches community consultation
- July 2021: First swearing-in ceremony held for SPS police officers
- August 2021: Surrey Police Union certified to represent SPS police officers
- September 2021: SPS surpasses100 staff hired
- November 2021: Operational deployment of first group of SPS officers
- February 2022: First SPS Strategic Plan released
- March 2022: Collective Bargaining Agreement reached with Surrey Police Union
- April 2022: First class of recruits begins with SPS
- August 2022: SPS becomes second largest municipal police agency in BC
- November 2022: Surrey Police Inspectors' Association is established
- January 2023: SPS surpasses 200 officers deployed into policing operations
- March 2023: First SPS recruit class graduates from the JIBC
- October 2023: Police Amendment Act, 2023 passed, requiring Surrey to be policed by a municipal police service
- January 2024: SPS surpasses 400 staff hired
Frequently asked questions
Have police phone numbers or locations changed in Surrey?
All contact information and locations of police stations remain the same. The non-emergency number for Surrey is: 604-599-0502 (or 911 for emergencies).
Who will show up when residents call police – SPS or RCMP?
When there is a call for service that requires police attendance, either a Surrey RCMP officer or SPS officer (or both) will attend. The officer who is closest and available will be dispatched.
Why are SPS officers driving RCMP vehicles?
For now, SPS officers are using RCMP-branded police cars. Part of the phased transition is gradually familiarizing Surrey residents with the look of SPS – we are starting with uniforms, and vehicles will be added in the future.
How do I contact an SPS member who dealt with my file?
During this phase of Surrey's policing transition, residents may be served by a Surrey RCMP officer or SPS officer. If you need to follow up on your file, please call 604-599-0502 or the number on the business card provided to you by the officer.
How do I make a complaint about an SPS officer?
If you wish to make a complaint about the service you received, who you contact will depend on which agency served you:
When will SPS take charge of policing in Surrey?
The change of command from the RCMP to SPS will happen in Phase 2 of the policing transition (we are currently in Phase 1). The timeline for Phase 2 has yet to be determined by the Province of BC.