Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know more about the Surrey Police Board and the creation and transition to the Surrey Police Service? We have compiled the answers to the most frequently asked questions below. We will regularly update the information as the transition progresses.
About the Surrey Police Board
What does the Surrey Police Board do?
The Surrey Police Board is made up of citizens just like you who are deeply embedded within the community and familiar with Surrey’s growth and future ambitions.
Surrey’s diverse and gender-balanced police board is responsible for the oversight of the Surrey Police Service and being accountable to the community. The Board conducts consultations with community members and groups, builds partnerships with community agencies, hires the Chief Constable, approves SPS policies and budgets, and addresses policy complaints against the Service.
The Board will have regular public meetings (approximately monthly) with the Chief Constable. The Chief will report to the Board on a variety of topics including ongoing spending, complaints against officers, crime data, human resources, and other topics as required.
Who is on the Police Board?
The Surrey Police Board members include:
- Doug McCallum: Chair, Mayor of Surrey
- Cheney Cloke: Vice-Chair, Director at the Fraser Health Authority
- Jessie K. Sunner: Vice-Chair, In-House Legal Counsel for the Hospital Employees’ Union
- Chief Harley Chappell: Chief of the Semiahmoo First Nation
- Manav Gill: Manager, Clinical Operation at Fraser Health
- Elizabeth Model: CEO, Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association
- Meena Brisard: Regional Director for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
- James Carwana: Independent mediator and arbitrator
Learn more about the Board Members.
What is the Role of the Chair?
The Mayor is the Chair of the Surrey Police Board pursuant to the BC Police Act and is a non-voting member of the Board, except in the case of a tie.
How is the Police Board appointed?
The Surrey Police Board is an appointed body by way of an Order in Council signed by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. There are 8 appointments: 7 are provincially appointed and one is recommended to the Province by the City Council through a Council motion. The municipal appointee is also appointed through an Order in Council.
How long is a Board Member on the Board?
Board appointments can be for as little as one year, or for up to six years maximum for any one Board member.
When will the Board consult with the public on the Surrey Police Service?
The Chief Constable will lead community engagement, with oversight from the Board. The Chief will conduct extensive consultation with Indigenous communities, businesses, not-for-profits, health, education, community groups, and residents of Surrey.
How can I be a delegate to the Surrey Police Board?
The Board has four criteria related to being a delegation:
- It must relate to SPS services or policies
- It must affect a segment of the population and not an individual
- It must relate to a strategy of policing, and not the actions of a single officers
- It must relate to the Board’s oversight mandate, rather than day-to-day police operations.
Topics outside of the Board’s mandate such as the decision by City Council to terminate its contract with the RCMP or matters related to a referendum are not within the Board’s scope and will not be heard by the Board.
Learn more about delegate policy and how to apply.
Is the Board responsible for the RCMP?
The Board does not have authority over the RCMP, including the costs associated to contracted services. The RCMP is not accountable to a local civilian oversight Board. Instead, The RCMP members in Surrey are ultimately accountable to the Federal RCMP in Ottawa.
What oversight does the Board have as it relates to costs of the transition to the Surrey Police Service (SPS)?
Police financing through a transition to the RCMP has three distinct budget streams: the RCMP contract policing, the transition costs and the SPS budget. The Board has complete oversight of costs related to the Surrey Police Service but is not responsible for either contract RCMP policing or the City of Surrey transition costs.
How does financial oversight of the Surrey Police Service (SPS) work?
As a legislated requirement, the Board has until November 30, 2020 to present a police service budget to the Surrey City Council for consideration. The SPS’ financial framework is separate and distinct from the City’s police transition budget. The Board is only responsible for the development of the SPS’ budget and will table budgets as per legislation. The information contained in those budgets needs to be ratified by City Council before being made public.
Does the City of Surrey have the funding required to launch its own service?
Policing services in all municipalities is one of the largest budget items, and Surrey is no different. In its budget, the City has provisioned for costs to launch the Service and further questions related to this should be directed to the City.
Once City Council approves the annual SPS budget, it will be governed by the Police Board and managed by the Police Chief.
Will there be fewer police working for SPS at a greater cost compared to the RCMP?
As Surrey grows, the authorized strength of the SPS will be determined by the Board in consultation with the Chief Constable. The number of officers will reflect the policing model which will be based on the priorities identified through public consultation. If, and when, SPS requires increases in officers, the Board will table a budget reflecting that increase to City Council for approval.
There are many differences in costs between the RCMP and an independent police service, such as SPS and it is difficult to make accurate comparisons. For example, under an RCMP contract, Surrey pays administration costs to the RCMP for provincial and federal administration, which will not be an expense for the SPS.
Does SPS need to find new buildings and purchase new cars and equipment?
Surrey owns or leases all of the building currently occupied by the RCMP. As the transition occurs, space will be turned over to SPS as it grows. For other equipment such as cars and radios, these items are also paid for by the City of Surrey and through various agreements and arrangements, will be transferred to SPS.
Why are there petitions circulating about stopping the transition to a municipal police service stating that the Surrey Police Service is not a “done deal”?
The City of Surrey’s transition to an independent police service is in fact a done deal. In 2018, Surrey’s City Council voted unanimously to end its policing contract with the RCMP, giving the required 2-year notice to terminate the contract. In February 2020, the Province of British Columbia approved the creation of the Surrey Police Board (SPB), which is responsible for creating and governing the Surrey Police Service. The SPS is targeted to have its first officers on the street by the spring of 2021.
Why not hold a referendum in order to hear from the residents of Surrey?
Holding a referendum is not within the mandate of the Surrey Police Board, and is instead under the jurisdiction of the City of Surrey. There are very specific terms associated to referendums, and more information can found here.
About the Policing Transition
Is the Surrey Police Service (SPS) official?
Yes. The SPS has a provincially appointed Surrey Police Board that has hired a Chief Constable to begin building the plans to operationalize the SPS. Surrey’s City Council unanimously voted to approve the creation of an independent police service and the Province of British Columbia approved it.
Why does Surrey need an independent, municipal police service?
Surrey is growing: As one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, Surrey is currently the only Canadian municipality with more than 300,000 residents without its own independent, municipal police service.
Public safety is a priority: While Surrey is already a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family, the city is facing challenges related to crime and poverty that require a community-centric approach to policing.
Police services are evolving: As an independent service overseen by a citizen-led Board, the Surrey Police Service will be best equipped to respond to the complex root causes of crime afflicting the city while reflecting the priorities of its diverse communities.
What is the launch date for the Surrey Police Service? When will I see officers on the street?
While an exact launch date is yet to be determined, the Surrey Police Service (SPS) is targeted to have its first officers on the streets of Surrey by Spring of 2021. The Service’s operational transition plan will be implemented by the Chief Constable in partnership with the Surrey RCMP’s leadership.
See the full policing transition timeline on the Surrey Police Service website.
What was the recruitment process to hire the Chief Constable, and how long did the process take?
The Chief's recruitment process is illustrated in the attached infographic. The process took approximately 10 months from start to finish including procuring a professional search firm, developing an objective methodology to recruit the right person, and conducting a national search.
What is the role of the Province in creating the Surrey Police Service?
The Provincial government has authority to grant approvals to Surrey to create the SPS. A detailed timeline and clarity on the role of the Provincial government can be found here.
Will there be additional community consultation around creating the Surrey Police Service?
With the leadership of the Surrey Police Service’s Chief Constable, the Board will undertake extensive community engagement efforts to gather insights from the public. Feedback on the key concerns and priorities of Surrey residents, Indigenous groups, businesses, health, educators, not for profit organizations and community groups will then be used to guide development of the SPS’ first Strategic Plan. The plan will integrate the priorities, goals and objectives of the City of Surrey and the Province. This work will commence shortly after a Chief is hired.
What is the budget for the Surrey Police Service? How much will it cost?
The Board will be submitting a provisional budget to City Council by November 30, in accordance with the legislated requirements of the Police Act. Due to the complexities of the transition, the total budget will be determined by the Chief Constable in consultation with the Board. The Board will continue to work with the City of Surrey to develop an SPS budget for 2021.
What if the SPB budget for the police service is not approved? Will that impact the transition and the ‘go live’ date for the service?
In the event that any municipality in British Columbia fails to pass a budget related to city services, the matter is taken to the province for arbitration.