Police officers who may eventually be deployed for Surrey’s new municipal police force will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Surrey Police Service (SPS) announced Monday that last Friday the Surrey Police Board approved the new policy mandating vaccines for all officers by November 30.
The Service further stated that it will not accept applications from anyone without proof of double vaccination.
“SPS has implemented multiple actions, programs and safety measures to address the risks to health, safety and life posed by COVID-19. The Public Health Officer and other government officials have repeatedly affirmed vaccination as the most effective protection against COVID-19. As a police service that will soon be directly interacting with the public, including some of Surrey’s most vulnerable residents, it is important for SPS to take a leadership role in protecting the community that we will serve and our employees,” stated the Service via spokesperson Ian MacDonald.
The Service maintains 50 officers will be deployed to “policing operations” by November 30.
It’s unclear how the board came to the decision, as there was no public meeting last Friday. MacDonald said the policy is the result of ongoing discussions between the board and union surrounding a collective bargaining agreement.
“All of these parties recognize the importance of workplace and community safety in the midst of this devastating pandemic,” said Chief Constable Norm Lipinski in a prepared statement. “It is also significant that a policy could be so quickly created and endorsed by the Surrey Police Board and the Surrey Police Union while in the early stages of the collective bargaining process. This is a demonstration of the responsiveness of local control that the citizens of Surrey can expect from Surrey Police Service.”
The Service now joins RCMP officers who will also be required to be vaccinated under federal government policy.