New Surrey police badge design has deep local and overseas roots

Chief Norm Lipinski introduced Surrey Police Services' new badge on May 4.

The eye of a guardian, a symbolic check pattern and a sextet of stars will grace the centre of the badge that is slated to be worn by future members of the Surrey Police Service.

Norm Lipinski, chief constable of the SPS, unveiled the badge at a remote media event Tuesday alongside Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. Both men called it “a historic day” on the path to creating the city’s new police department. 

The badge resembles many of those employed by other forces in B.C. but it has distinct elements that the mayor said are intended to embody the principles of the SPS.

“Our new Surrey police badge links the past, the present and the future,” McCallum said. He thanked those officers who have served in the city to date, and said he envisioned Surrey’s future force as being modern, inclusive, innovative and accountable to residents.

Lipinski said a police badge is the foundation for building the tradition of the service. He explained the elements of the new emblem with help from Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell, who is also a director on the city’s police board.

The eye

Among the most prominent symbols on the badge’s crest is a single Coast Salish eye, designed by Semiahmoo artist Leslie Wells. Chappell explained that the symbol was chosen with help from Wells and was based on something Lipinski had said while he was being interviewed for his position.

“He said I see SPS as guardians, not warriors. So as I relayed that messaging to our artist, he said, ‘Well, then an eye.’ An eye of a parent, of a grandparent, of a guardian that oversees and protects, and takes responsibility for the well-being of their people,” Chappell said.

Surrey isn’t the only city to incorporate Indigenous art or imagery into its police badge. The VPD badge, for example, features a Kwakiutl totem pole.

The check pattern

The check pattern in the centre of the shield is intended to be a nod to former U.K. prime minister Robert Peel, who is regularly credited with having established modern policing principles, “most important of which is the police are the public and the public are the police,” as Lipinski put it.

“This is at the centre of the badge because it will be the centre of our policing philosophies.”

The pattern also adorns the hatband of the Surrey police in the U.K., Lipinski said.

The stars

The six stars at the bottom of the shield are meant to represent Surrey’s town centres, Guildford, Whalley, Fleetwood, Newton, Cloverdale and South Surrey, Lipinski said.

“Each of these communities will have different expectations from the Surrey police and we are committed to developing programs and services to support the various needs throughout the city.”

The mottoes

The words respect, honour and integrity wrap around the shield at the centre of the badge. Those terms are among six values for the SPS approved by the police board late last month. Courage, compassion and inclusive round out the approved terms, but those aren’t featured on the badge.

The term integrity also appears on the badges of the New Westminster and Delta police departments, and the term honour can be seen on those of the Delta, West Vancouver and Victoria police departments.

The wreath, Crown and dogwood

The wreath of maple leaves and the Royal Crown are common in police badges, though Lipinski said the SPS did need to go to Ottawa for approval to use the latter symbol. The Pacific dogwood blossom, B.C.’s floral emblem, is ubiquitous on police badges in B.C. The symbols collectively refer to the Crown, the country and the province.

New Surrey police badge design has deep local and overseas roots