As part of its transition plan from the RCMP to a municipal police force, the City of Surrey has announced that Chief Const. Norm Lipinski has been named the force’s new chief.
Lipinski comes to the new force from the Delta Police Department.
“I extend my congratulations to Chief Constable Norm Lipinski on his new position. It was my pleasure to work closely with Chief Lipinski when he served with the RCMP. I look forward to working with him again,” said Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards.
Edwards added that right now, “it is important for all Surrey residents to know that, at this time, the RCMP continues to maintain responsibility for policing in Surrey.”
The transition of police services, he said, “is a long and complex process, particularly for a detachment of our size.”
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As such, “Surrey RCMP will continue to manage operations until the Municipal Police Unit Agreement has been terminated or replaced with another agreement.”
Going forward, Edwards said that for residents of Surrey, “please feel confident that your safety remains our top priority as we move through this process.”
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The announcement comes after Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said earlier this year that the transitional plan to a municipal force had been approved.
The motion to create a city-based police department was first approved by the Surrey City Council in November of 2018.
In its plan, the city said a local police force will be “more responsive” to the changing conditions and demands of the community. It’s also mentioned that out of the 19 Canadian population centres with more than 300,000 residents, Surrey is the only community that doesn’t have a local police force.
Currently, the Surrey RCMP has “an authorized strength” of 843 members, although there are currently 51 vacancies. The City of Surrey also has 302 employees who directly support the Surrey RCMP.
The costs of these employees, as well as all police facilities, are paid for by the city.
Last summer, the BC government announced that it had approved the establishment of a Surrey municipal police force.