They moved to B.C. to join Surrey’s new police force. Now, their future is uncertain – BC- VB BLOG

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Sgt. Mohit Paul left his job with the Toronto Police Service in September 2021, moving his wife and two children to B.C., so he could join Surrey’s new municipal police force.

He’s among 57 employees who moved from out of province to work for the new Surrey Police Service.

“I like the fact I’m able to use my language skills a lot and connect with the community — an opportunity I didn’t necessarily have in Toronto,” Paul told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Surrey city council votes to stop Surrey Police Service transition, but it may be too late'

Surrey city council votes to stop Surrey Police Service transition, but it may be too late

But now, the 38-year-old said he and other SPS officers are contemplating their future in case the department is disbanded under the city’s new mayor, Brenda Locke.

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“I came to Surrey to join SPS, to help build that modern progressive police force,” he said. “If the SPS failed to exist or move forward, it would most likely mark the end of my policing career.”

Read more:

Surrey police chief explains why he’ll keep hiring despite council vote to keep RCMP

Scrapping her predecessor Doug McCallum’s controversial transition to a municipal force was one of Locke’s hallmark pledges in October’s election.

Earlier this week, city councillors officially voted to keep the RCMP in Surrey and ask the SPS to freeze  spending.

But the police force has said terminating its 374 employees to remain with the RCMP would lead to an estimated $81.5-million investment loss.

Click to play video: 'Surrey Police Service members want no part of ‘toxic’ RCMP work environment'

Surrey Police Service members want no part of ‘toxic’ RCMP work environment

Employment lawyer Kelly Slade-Kerr has reviewed the unionized workers’ collective agreement.

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“The number likely reflects a worst-case scenario under which the police board would provide all employees with the full 18 months of severance pay. However, that’s not necessarily how it will play out — for two reasons,” Slade-Kerr said.

The employer could deploy them to another organization and recoup the costs through an arrangement with that group, she said.

Or, if the police board decides to give severance, it would be subject to a “duty to mitigate,” meaning officers who go on to find another job during the severance period would no longer be paid in full.

Read more:

Surrey Police Union opposes mayor’s policing plan, members declare no intention of joining RCMP

For SPS members, it’s a lot to think about.

“I may go back to school to further my education or I may look for other employment opportunities that are not related to the field of policing in general,” Paul said.

City staff are now preparing a report to address staffing concerns, to plan for an increase in Surrey RCMP members, and to repurpose or dispose of SPS equipment.

Council will vote on it Nov. 28, and if successful, it will go before the public safety minister.

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– with files from Elizabeth McSheffrey

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. ,

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