New Surrey police officer arrested by RCMP, may face breach of trust charge

WATCH: An officer from the new Surrey Police Service has been arrested and is being investigated for breach of trust.

A member of Surrey’s new municipal police force was arrested by the RCMP on Tuesday, as a criminal investigation proceeds.

A breach of trust charge has not yet been laid by the BC Prosecution Service, however, so the officer’s identity has not been released, the Surrey Police Service said in a Wednesday statement.

“SPS has chosen to release this information now in the interest of transparency,” reads the statement. “SPS has notified the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner about the incident.”

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The officer, who has been released on conditions, was hired by the Surrey Police Service in May with a little more than a year of previous policing experience.

He was suspended with pay on Wednesday pending the outcome of the criminal investigation handled by the Mounties. Global News has reached out to the Surrey Police Service for comment on this story.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, breach of trust involves an act — or failure to — that is not authorized by law or the trust placed in the trustee, and includes an intent to defraud. A conviction could result in a maximum of 14 years behind bars.

In an emailed statement, B.C.’s police watchdog, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, confirmed the Aug. 16 arrest has been reported.

“Upon request from the Surrey Police Service, the OPCC will be initiating a Police Act investigation into the conduct of the member in relation to this matter,” wrote deputy police complaint commissioner Andrea Spindler.

“The Commissioner has also determined that it is in the public interest that an external police force investigate the matter and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has been assigned as the investigating agency.”

The Police Act investigation will be suspended pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and any prosecution that might ensue, she added.

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The Surrey Police Service inked its first contract in March, making its officers among the highest paid in Canada. Recruits begin with a starting salary of $70,000, climbing to $89,000 after the first year.

At three years, an SPS constable will be eligible for a salary of nearly $122,000.

The SPS put its first boots on the ground last November, marking a new step forward in the city’s gradual — but controversial — transition away from the Surrey RCMP. As it stands, many of its officers are still working alongside the Mounties as they familiarize themselves with the role.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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