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Surrey Police Transition: Clarity Emerges Amid Ongoing Tension

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Amid the ongoing tension between Surrey and the B.C. government over the city’s police transition, Chief Constable Norm Lipinski of the Surrey Police Service expressed readiness for the upcoming changes.

The recent statement by B.C. Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth suggested that the transition from the RCMP to the new Surrey Police Service would move forward regardless of Mayor Brenda Locke‘s stance on the issue.

Lipinski, in an interview with CityNews, highlighted the enthusiasm within the municipal police force for the transition. He added that the clarity provided by the government offers a clear path moving forward.

On Tuesday, Farnworth announced the province’s commitment to providing $150 million to support the police transition directly until its completion. However, he noted that Surrey had turned down an additional offer of up to $100 million in funding.

Chief Constable Lipinski emphasized that the Surrey Police Service had a well-thought-out plan from the start and now has more clarity on the way forward due to the recent developments. He praised the efforts of his team amid various challenges faced during the transition process.

With the provincial funding secured and Farnworth’s assurance that the transition would proceed, Lipinski confirmed that the Surrey Police Service was ready to resume officer recruitment, marking a significant step in the transition.

Despite the positive developments, the battle over Surrey’s policing future continues. Mayor Brenda Locke, who campaigned against the transition to SPS, is leading a court challenge against the provincial legislation mandating the switch.

In a recent statement, Locke highlighted the lack of firm financial commitments from the province to alleviate the costs of transitioning to a police force not favored by Surrey residents. Farnworth teased potential details on the timeline for the change of command from the RCMP to the SPS next week.

As the legal dispute unfolds, Surrey’s 2024 budget has been prepared with the assumption of retaining the RCMP, signaling ongoing uncertainty surrounding the policing landscape in the city.

Rachel Adams

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