Royal Canadian Mounted Police

"Mountie" redirects here. For other uses, see Mountie (disambiguation).
"RCMP" redirects here. For the TV series, see R.C.M.P. (TV series).
"Royal Mounted Police" redirects here. For the film, see Giubbe rosse.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Gendarmerie royale du Canada (French)
Abbreviation RCMP/GRC

Heraldic badge of the RCMP

Motto Maintiens le droit
"Defending the Law"[1][2]
Agency overview
Formed February 1, 1920[3]
Preceding agencies
Employees 28,461 (2015)
Volunteers Approximately 1,600 Auxiliary Constables[4]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency Canada
Constituting instruments
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters M. J. Nadon Government of Canada Building
73 Leikin Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2[5]
Sworn members
Unsworn members
Elected officer responsible The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety
Agency executives
Parent agency Public Safety Canada
Patrol vessels 5
Fixed-wings 32
Helicopters 10
While a federal agency, the RCMP also provides direct policing to dependent territories.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP; French: Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC), "Royal Gendarmerie of Canada"; colloquially known as the Mounties, and internally as "the Force") is both a federal and a national police force of Canada. The RCMP provides law enforcement at a federal level in Canada, and also on a contract basis to the three territories, eight of Canada's provinces (the RCMP does not provide provincial or municipal policing in either Ontario or Quebec), more than 150 municipalities, 600 aboriginal communities, and three international airports.[8]


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was formed in 1920 by the merger of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP, founded in 1873) with the Dominion Police (founded in 1868). The former was originally named the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), and was given the Royal prefix by King Edward VII in 1904. Much of the present day organization's symbolism has been inherited from its days as the NWMP and RNWMP, including the distinctive Red Serge uniform, paramilitary heritage, and mythos as a frontier force. The RCMP/GRC wording is protected under the Trade-marks Act.[9]

RCMP in Quebec City on St. Patrick's day, 2014.

As Canada's national police force, the RCMP is primarily responsible for enforcing federal laws throughout Canada while general law and order including the enforcement of the Criminal Code and applicable provincial legislation is constitutionally the responsibility of the provinces and territories. Larger cities commonly form their own municipal police departments.

The two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, maintain provincial forces: the Ontario Provincial Police and Sûreté du Québec. The other eight provinces contract policing responsibilities to the RCMP. The RCMP provides front-line policing in those provinces under the direction of the provincial governments. When Newfoundland joined the confederation in 1949, the RCMP entered the province and absorbed the then Newfoundland Ranger Force, which patrolled most of Newfoundland's rural areas. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary patrols urban areas of the province. In the territories, the RCMP is the sole territorial police force. Many municipalities throughout Canada contract to the RCMP. Thus, the RCMP polices at the federal, provincial, and municipal level. It is the only police force of any sort in several areas of Canada.

The RCMP is responsible for an unusually large breadth of duties. Under their federal mandate, the RCMP police throughout Canada, including Ontario and Quebec (albeit under smaller scales there). Federal operations include: enforcing federal laws including commercial crime, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, border integrity, organized crime, and other related matters; providing counter-terrorism and domestic security; providing protection services for the Monarch, Governor General, Prime Minister, their families and residences, and other ministers of the Crown, visiting dignitaries, and diplomatic missions; and participating in various international policing efforts.

Under provincial and municipal contracts the RCMP provides front-line policing in all areas outside of Ontario and Quebec that do not have an established local police force. There are detachments located in small villages in the far north, remote First Nations reserves, and rural towns, but also larger cities such as Surrey, British Columbia (population 468,251+). There, support units investigate for their own detachments, and smaller municipal police forces. Investigations include major crimes, homicides, forensic identification, collision forensics, police dogs, emergency response teams, explosives disposal, and undercover operations. Under its National Police Services branch the RCMP supports all police forces in Canada via the Canadian Police Information Centre, Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, Forensic Science and Identification Services, Canadian Firearms Program, and the Canadian Police College.

The RCMP Security Service was a specialized political intelligence and counterintelligence branch with national security responsibilities, replaced by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in 1984, following revelations of illegal covert operations relating to the Quebec separatist movement.[10] CSIS is not part of the RCMP, but is its own entity.



Single-Handed by Charles Marion Russell (1912). The painting depicts a lone Mounted Police Officer attempting to arrest a Blood warrior, likely in Canada.

Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald first began planning a permanent force to patrol the North-West Territories after the Dominion of Canada purchased the territory from the Hudson's Bay Company. Reports from Army officers surveying the territory led to the recommendation that a mounted force of between 100 to 150 mounted riflemen could maintain law and order. The Prime Minister first announced the force as the North West Mounted Rifles. However, officials in the United States raised concerns that an armed force along the border was a prelude to a military build up. Macdonald then renamed the force the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) when formed in 1873.[11]

The force added "Royal" to its name in 1904. It was merged with the Dominion Police, the main police force for all points east of Manitoba, in 1920 and was renamed as the "Royal Canadian Mounted Police". The new organization was charged with federal law enforcement in all the provinces and territories, and immediately set about establishing its modern role as protector of Canadian national security, as well as assuming responsibility for national counterintelligence.

As part of its national security and intelligence functions, the RCMP was responsible for infiltrating any ethnic or political groups that were considered to be dangerous to Canada's existing order. This included the Communist Party of Canada, but also a variety of minority cultural and nationalist groups. The force was also deeply involved in immigration matters, and especially deportations of suspected radicals. They were especially concerned with Ukrainian groups, both nationalist and socialist.[12] The Chinese community was also targeted because of a perceived link to opium dens. Historians estimate that fully two per cent of the Chinese community was deported between 1923 and 1932, largely under the provisions of the Opium and Narcotics Drugs Act (ONDA).[13] Besides the RCMP's new responsibilities in intelligence, drugs enforcement, and immigration, the force also provided assistance to numerous other federal agencies, such as enforcing the residential school system for Aboriginal children.

In 1935, the RCMP, collaborating with the Regina Police Service, crushed the On-to-Ottawa Trek by sparking the Regina Riot, in which one city police officer and one protester were killed. The Trek, which had been organized to call attention to the abysmal conditions in relief camps, therefore failed to reach Ottawa, but nevertheless had profound political reverberations.

RCMP patrolling with sled dogs, 1957.
An RCMP Border Guards Regiment in 1943. Photo by Conrad Poirier.

The RCMP employed special constables to assist with strikebreaking in the interwar period. For a brief period in the late 1930s, a volunteer militia group, the Legion of Frontiersmen were affiliated with the RCMP. Many members of the RCMP belonged to this organization, which was prepared to serve as an auxiliary force. In later years, special constables performed duties such as policing airports and, in certain Canadian provinces, the court houses.

In 1932, men and vessels of the Preventive Service, National Revenue, were absorbed, creating the RCMP Marine Section. The acquisition of the RCMP schooner St. Roch facilitated the first effective patrol of Canada's Arctic territory. It was the first vessel to navigate the Northwest Passage from west to east (1940–42), the first to navigate the Passage in one season (from Halifax to Vancouver in 1944), the first to sail either way through the Passage in one season, and the first to circumnavigate North America (1950).[14]

Counterintelligence work was moved from the RCMP's Criminal Investigation Department to a specialized intelligence branch, the RCMP Security Service, in 1939.


Posing with a tourist in front of the Parliament Buildings, 1949

On April 1, 1949, Newfoundland joined in full confederation with Canada and the Newfoundland Ranger Force amalgamated with the RCMP.

Following the 1945 defection of Soviet cipher clerk, Igor Gouzenko, and his revelations of espionage, the RCMP Security Service implemented measures to screen out "subversive" elements from the public sector.[15]

Queen Elizabeth II approved in Regina, Saskatchewan on July 4, 1973, a new badge for the RCMP, in recognition of which the force presented the sovereign with a tapestry rendering of the new design.[16]

In the late 1970s, revelations surfaced that the RCMP Security Service force had in the course of their intelligence duties engaged in crimes such as burning a barn and stealing documents from the separatist Parti Québécois, and other abuses. This led to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Certain Activities of the RCMP, better known as the "McDonald Commission," named for the presiding judge, Mr Justice David Cargill McDonald. The Commission recommended that the force's intelligences duties be removed in favour of the creation of a separate intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Modern era

An RCMP Toyota Prius school liaison car in Ottawa.
Chevrolet Tahoe RCMP SUV in Ottawa.
Ford Crown Victoria RCMP car in Vancouver.
RCMP in regular uniform

In 1993, the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), were transferred to the Canadian Forces (CF), creating a new unit called Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2). JTF2 inherited some equipment and SERT's former training base near Ottawa.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been involved in training and logistically supporting the Haitian National Police since 1994, a controversial matter in Canada considering allegations of widespread human rights violations on the part of the HNP. Some Canadian activist groups have called for an end to the RCMP training.[17] The RCMP has also provided training overseas in Iraq and other peace-keeping missions.

The suspected driver of the reconnaissance vehicle involved in the Khobar Towers bombing fled to Canada where he was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the winter of 1997, and was extradited to the United States.

Main article: Mayerthorpe tragedy

On March 3, 2005, four RCMP officers were fatally shot during an operation to recover stolen property and investigate a possible marijuana grow-op and serve an arrest warrant just outside Mayerthrope, Alberta. Shooter James Roszko, 46, then killed himself. It was the single worst multiple killing of RCMP officers since the North-West Rebellion. One of the four Mounties killed had been on the job for only 17 days. The victims were:

Main article: Spiritwood Incident

On July 7, 2006, two RCMP officers were shot dead near Mildred, Saskatchewan. The killer, Curtis Dagenais, 41, was missing until July 18, when he turned himself in. The victims were:

Dagenais was subsequently convicted of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder of a third Mountie who arrived shortly after the initial firefight.

In 2006, the United States Coast Guard's Ninth District and the RCMP began a program called "Shiprider," in which 12 Mounties from the RCMP detachment at Windsor and 16 Coast Guard boarding officers from stations in Michigan ride in each other's vessels. The intent is to allow for seamless enforcement of the international border.[19]

On December 6, 2006, RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli resigned one day after informing the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that his earlier testimony about the Maher Arar case was inaccurate. The RCMP had improperly given information to the US that resulted in Arar, a Canadian returning to Montreal via the US, being sent to Syria where he was imprisoned for 10 months and tortured into signing a false confession of links to terrorists. Earlier, on September 28, 2006, and before the same Commons committee, Commissioner Zaccardelli had issued a carefully worded public apology to Arar and his family:

Mr. Arar, I wish to take this opportunity to express publicly to you and to your wife and to your children how truly sorry I am for whatever part the actions of the RCMP may have contributed to the terrible injustices that you experienced and the pain that you and your family endured.[20]

On January 26, 2007, after months of negotiations between the Canadian government and Arar's Canadian legal counsel, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology "for any role Canadian officials may have played in what happened to Mr. Arar, Monia Mazigh and their family in 2002 and 2003" and announced that Arar would receive $10.5 million settlement for his ordeal and an additional $1 million for legal costs.

On October 6, 2007, Constable Christopher John Worden of Hay River Detachment, Northwest Territories was shot and killed in Hay River while on duty in that community. A nationwide arrest warrant was issued for Emrah Bulatci. Bulatci was apprehended on October 12 in Edmonton, Alberta.

On October 14, 2007, Robert Dziekański, an emigrant from Poland, died at Vancouver International Airport. Dziekański spoke no English. His mother was waiting for him outside the customs area, but she was told that her son had not arrived, and she went home. No one helped the bewildered man to clear customs. After eight hours, unable to get assistance, he became agitated. Four RCMP officers were summoned after he threw a computer and a small table. During his arrest, he was Tasered at least twice within 25 seconds of the officers' arrival. After dropping to the floor, he was held down and handcuffed by the officers. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. The incident was videotaped and eventually released to the public. An official inquiry found that the officers' use of the taser was not justified. All four officers were charged with perjury regarding the confrontation; two were found guilty and sentenced to jail.

On November 6, 2007, Constable Doug Scott, 20, was killed in Kimmirut, Nunavut when responding to a report of a possible impaired driver. He had been with the service for only six months.[21]

In 2007, the RCMP was named Newsmaker of the Year by The Canadian Press.[22]

On June 3, 2013, the RCMP renamed its A Division to National Division.[23]

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, around 7:20 PM, Justin Bourque, 24, of Moncton, New Brunswick (a city of about 70,000) allegedly shot five RCMP officers, mortally wounding three and injuring two others in the city's Pinehurst Subdivision. An image from the Times and Transcript newspaper showed a man dressed in camouflage clothing with a bandana around his forehead, carrying one rifle, with a shotgun over his shoulder, and also carrying a backpack. An 8:12 pm tweet from the RCMP added that he was still on the run (still believed to be in Pinehurst; near the Moncton Coliseum), and that he was to be considered armed and extremely dangerous, not to be approached. Residents were warned to stay indoors and away from windows, and to lock their doors. A separate shooting had also occurred near downtown Dieppe, New Brunswick, just east of Moncton, according to the newspaper's Twitter feed, but it was not definitively known if the two incidents were connected or not. New Brunswick Premier David Alward said in a statement that he was "shocked and saddened" by the shootings, and asked residents to heed police warnings.[24] Bourque was later apprehended without incident almost 29 hours later. He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.[25][26][27] The victims were identified as:[28]

History of the RCMP uniform

Guidon of the RCMP

The RCMP are famous for their distinctive dress uniform, or "Review Order," popularly known as the "Red Serge." It consists of: high collared scarlet tunic, midnight blue breeches with yellow leg stripe, Sam Browne belt with white sidearm lanyard, oxblood riding boots (possibly with spurs), brown felt campaign hat (wide, flat brimmed) with the characteristic "Montana crease", and brown gloves (with brown leather gauntlets for riders). Review Order is worn by the mounted troop performing the Musical Ride, an equestrian drill in which mounted members demonstrate their riding skills and handling of the cavalry lance. On normal duties, the RCMP uses standard police methods, equipment, and uniforms. Horses are still used for such ceremonial operations as escorting the Governor General's open landau to the Opening of Parliament.

The Red Serge tunic that identified initially the NWMP, and later the RNWMP and RCMP, is of the standard British military pattern (based on the civilian Norfolk jacket[29]). The NWMP was originally kitted out from militia stores, resulting initially in several different styles of tunic, although the style later became standardized. This style was used both to emphasize the British nature of the force and to differentiate it from the blue American military uniforms. The dark blue shoulder straps and collars were added in 1904[30] when King Edward VII granted the Force "Royal" status for its service in the Second Boer War, replacing the scarlet facings of the earlier uniform. Currently, RCMP personnel under the rank of inspector wear blue "gorget" patches on the collar, while officers from inspector to commissioner have solid blue collars, along with blue pointed-sleeve cuffs.

On top of this jacket was worn a white haversack and white gauntlets,[29] which provided a high visible contrast to the red tunic, but were easily dirtied. In the modern dress uniform these have been replaced with brown leather riding gloves and carrying pouches added to the belt.

Reenactors portraying the NWMP K Troop.

Initially the NWMP wore buff or steel grey breeches.[29] Later dark blue breeches with yellow-gold strapping (stripes) were adopted. Members of the NWMP were known to exchange kit with U.S. cavalry units along the border and it is suggested that this was the initial source for the breeches; however, blue breeches were considered early on, although with a white strap. Dark blue with yellow-gold strapping is another British cavalry tradition with yellow stripes historically being worn by most cavalry (later armoured) regiments dress uniforms.

The wide, flat-brimmed Stetson hat was not adopted officially until about 1904. Although the NWMP contingent at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee wore the Stetson, it was an unofficial item of dress. The primary official summer headdress at the time was the white British foreign service helmet, also known as a pith helmet. This was not particularly practical as headdress in the Canadian west, and members wore a Stetson type hat on patrol and around camp. Sam Steele is often credited with introducing the Stetson-type hat, and when he left the force to command Lord Strathcona's Horse and took the regiment to South Africa he also adopted the Stetson for this unit. For winter a Canadian military fur wedge cap or busby was worn.

Black riding boots were later changed to the modern brown style called "Strathcona Boots" or informally as "high browns" (See link to Lord Strathcona's Horse). The original crossbelts were later changed to the brown Sam Browne type currently worn. The brown colour of the boots and belt worn with the Red Serge come from the individual member applying numerous coats of polish, often during their time in training at Depot Division.

Original spurs, referred to as "long shank spurs" were solid nickel. Owners of long shank spurs occasionally had their regimental number engraved on the inside. The rowel was sometimes replaced with a US buffalo nickel by the wearer, as using a Canadian coin would be considered defacing the Monarch (the buffalo being associated to the Mounted Police capbadge). Long shank spurs have not been issued since 1968.

Sidearms are standard now, but were often not worn in the early years.

The everyday uniform consists of a grey shirt with dark blue tie, dark blue trousers with gold strapping, regular patrol boots called "ankle boots," regular duty equipment, and a regular policeman's style cap. A blue Gore-Tex open-collar jacket (patrol jacket) is worn by members on operational duty, while a dark blue jacket (blue serge), is worn by sergeants major and certain non-commissioned officers (NCOs) usually involved in aspects of recruit training or media relations. Officers wear white shirts and the patrol jacket or blue serge, depending on their duties. Short-sleeved shirts with no tie are worn in the summer by all members except officers, who wear a tie with the short-sleeved shirt. Winter dress consists of a long-sleeved shirt without tie for all members except officers, who wear a tie with the long-sleeved shirt. Depending on the climate of the detachment area, heavier boots, winter coats (storm coats) and a fur cap are worn.

In British Columbia the hat features a black bearskin rim belt.

In 1990, Baltej Singh Dhillon became the first Sikh officer in the RCMP to be allowed to wear a turban instead of the traditional Stetson.[31] On March 15, the federal government, despite protests, decided that Sikhs would be permitted to wear turbans while on duty as RCMP officers.

Despite ongoing public pressure from groups such as the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals,[32] the RCMP decided against using fur but was overruled by the government and continues to use muskrat fur in their winter dress uniform.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Long Service Medal

Details and history of the medal can be found by clicking on the link.

Other Decorations

Members of the force receive a Service Badge star for each five years of service, which is worn on the left sleeve. There are specialist insignia for positions such as First Aid Instructor and Dog Handler, and pilot's wings are worn by aviators. Sharpshooter badges for proficiency in pistol or rifle shooting are each awarded in two grades.[33]

Women in the RCMP

A member of the RCMP rides at the 2008 Calgary Stampede
RCMP officer

On May 23, 1974, RCMP Commissioner Maurice Nadon announced that the RCMP would accept applications from women as regular members of the force. Troop 17 was the first group of 32 females at Depot in Regina on September 18 and 19, 1974 for regular training. This first all-female troop graduated from Depot on March 3, 1975.

After initially wearing different unflattering uniforms, women officers were finally issued the standard RCMP uniforms. Now all officers are identically attired, with two exceptions. The ceremonial dress uniform, or "walking-out order", for female members has a long, blue skirt and higher-heeled slip-on pumps plus small black clutch purse (however, in 2012 the RCMP began to allow women to wear trousers and boots with all their formal uniforms.[34]) The second exception is the official maternity uniform for pregnant female officers assigned to administrative duties.

The following years saw the first women attain certain positions.

From December 15, 2006, to July 2007, Beverley Busson served as interim Commissioner of the RCMP, making her the first woman to hold the top position in the force. She was replaced by William J. S. Elliott on July 6, 2007, (Elliott was sworn in on July 16—the first civilian to lead the RCMP.)[35][36]

A regiment of dragoons

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Gendarmerie royale du Canada

Cap badge of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Active 1873–present
Country Canada
Type Dragoons
Role Federal, National & Paramilitary Police Force
Size 15 divisions
Garrison/HQ RHQ—Ottawa
Nickname(s) The Mounties
Motto(s) Maintiens le droit (Defend the law)[2][37]
Battle honours see Battle honours
Bob Paulson (Commissioner)
Commissioner-in-Chief HM The Queen
Honorary Commissioner HRH The Prince of Wales[38]
Honorary Deputy Commissioner HRH The Earl of Wessex[39]
Tartan RCMP
Abbreviation RCMP/GRC

Although the RCMP is a civilian police force, in 1921, following the service of many of its members during the First World War, King George V awarded the force the status of a regiment of dragoons, entitling it to display the battle honours it had been awarded.

Service in wartime

During the Second Boer War, members of the North-West Mounted Police were given leaves of absence to join the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR) and Strathcona's Horse. The force raised the Canadian Mounted Rifles, mostly from NWMP members, for service in South Africa. For the CMR's distinguished service there, King Edward VII honoured the NWMP by changing the name to the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP) on June 24, 1904.

During the First World War, the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP) conducted border patrols, surveillance of enemy aliens, and enforcement of national security regulations within Canada. However, RNWMP officers also served overseas. On August 6, 1914, a squadron of volunteers from the RNWMP was formed to serve with the Canadian Light Horse in France. In 1918, two more squadrons were raised, A Squadron for service in France and Flanders and B Squadron for service in the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force

In 1939, No. 1 Provost Company (RCMP), Canadian Provost Corps, was raised for service in Europe and served throughout the Second World War as military police.


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were accorded the status of a regiment of Dragoons in 1921, with its first guidon presented in 1935.[40][41] As a cavalry regiment, the RCMP was entitled to wear battle honours for its war service as well as carry a guidon. The RCMP mounted the King's Life Guard at Horse Guards Parade in 1937 leading up to the coronation of King George VI.

Battle honours

Honorary distinction:


In 1975, the RCMP dedicated a memorial beside the Fred Light Museum in Battleford, Saskatchewan, consisting of a cemetery with gate, cairn and list of honour plaque to the members of the North-West Mounted Police (1873–1904) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.[42]



The RCMP International Operations Branch assists the Liaison Officer (LO) Program to deter international crime relating to Canadian criminal laws. The IOB is a section of the International Policing, which is part of the RCMP Federal and International Operations Directorate. Thirty-seven Liaison Officers are placed in 23 other countries and are responsible for organizing Canadian investigations in other countries, developing and maintaining the exchange of criminal intelligence, especially national security with other countries, to provide assistance in investigations that directly affect Canada, to coordinate and assist RCMP officers on foreign business and to represent the RCMP at international meetings.[43] Liaison Officers are located in:

RCMP Pipe Band
RCMP Pipe Band

The RCMP was a member agency in the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, and RCMP officers were embedded with military units in Afghanistan.[44]


RCMP Corporal with less-than-lethal shotgun in Vancouver

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is organized under the authority of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. In accordance with the Act, it is headed by the Commissioner, who, under the direction of the Minister of Public Safety, has the control and management of the Force and all matters connected therewith.

The Commissioner is assisted by Deputy Commissioners in charge of:[45]


The RCMP divides the country into divisions for command purposes. In general, each division is coterminous with a province (for example, C Division is Quebec). The province of Ontario, however, is divided into two divisions: National Division (Ottawa) and O Division (rest of the province). There is one additional division  Depot Division, which is the RCMP Academy at Regina, Saskatchewan, and the Police Dog Service Training Centre[46] at Innisfail, Alberta. The RCMP headquarters are located in Ottawa, Ontario.

Mountie in Banff, Alberta


The RCMP formerly had many single-officer detachments in small, isolated rural communities,[60][61] but in 2012 the RCMP announced that it would be closing these detachments as it moves to have all detachments with a minimum of three Mounties.[61]

The largest single RCMP detachment is in the City of Surrey in British Columbia, with over a thousand employees. Surrey has contracted with the RCMP for policing services since 1951.[62] The second-largest RCMP detachment is in Burnaby, also in British Columbia.[63]

Personal Protection Group

The Personal Protection Group or PPG is a 180-member group responsible for security details for VIPs, the prime minister, and the governor general.[64] It was created after the 1995 incident at 24 Sussex Drive.[65]

Units under the PPG consists of:


RCMP Officer in service

As of September 1, 2015, the RCMP employed 28,461 men and women, including police officers, civilian members, and Public Service Employees.[6]

Actual personnel strength by ranks:

Regular members

RCMP in regular uniform

The term regular member, or RM, originates from the RCMP Act and refers to the 18,988 regular RCMP officers who are trained and sworn as peace officers, and include all the ranks from constable to commissioner. They are the police officers of the RCMP and are responsible for investigating crime and have the authority to make arrests. RMs operate in over 750 detachments, including 200 municipalities and more than 600 Aboriginal communities. RMs are normally assigned to general policing duties at an RCMP detachment for a minimum of three years. These duties allow them to experience a broad range of assignments and experiences, such as responding to alarms, foot patrol, bicycle patrol, traffic enforcement, collecting evidence at crime scenes, testifying in court, apprehending criminals and plain clothes duties. Regular members also serve in over 150 different types of operational and administrative opportunities available within the RCMP, these include: major crime investigations, emergency response, forensic identification, forensic collision reconstruction, international peacekeeping, bike or marine patrol, explosives disposal and police dog services. Also included are administrative roles including human resources, corporate planning, policy analysis and public affairs.

Auxiliary constables and other staff

Besides the regular RCMP officers, several types of designations exist which give them assorted powers and responsibilities over policing issues.

Currently, there are:

Community Constables (CC)
A new designation introduced in 2014 as a replacement to the Community Safety Officers & Aboriginal Community Constables pilot programs.[68][69] Community Constables are armed, paid members holding the rank of Special Constables, with peace officer power.[70] They are to provide a bridge between the local citizens and the RCMP using their local and cultural knowledge[71] They will mostly be focused on crime prevention, liaison with the community, and to provide resources in the event of a large-scale event.[72]
Reserve Constables (R/Cst.)
A program reinstated in 2004 in British Columbia to allow for retired, regular RCMP members or other provincially trained officers to provide extra manpower when a shortage is identified.[73] R/Cst. are appointed under Section 11 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act as paid part-time, armed officers with the same powers as regular members.[74] However, they are not allowed to carry force-issued sidearms and use of force options unless they are called upon to duty.[73] They generally carry out community policing roles but may also be called upon if an emergency occurs.[73][75]
Auxiliary constables (A/Cst.)
Volunteers within their own community, appointed under provincial police acts.[66] They are not police officers and can not identify themselves as such. However, they are given peace officer powers when on duty with a regular member (RM). Their duties consist mainly of assisting the RM in routine events, for example cordoning off crime scene areas, crowd control, participating in community policing, assistance during situations where regular members might be overwhelmed with their duties (e.g., keep watch of a backseat detainee while RM interviews a victim). They are identified by the wording of "RCMP Auxiliary" on cars, jackets and shoulder flashes.
Community Safety Officers (CSO)
In 2008, a new pilot designation within the RCMP in British Columbia was created based on the UK Police Community Support Officer program. Community safety officers are paid, unarmed RCMP staff members with similar RCMP uniform but distinct shoulder badges with baton, pepper spray and handcuffs.[76][77] CSOs work with regular members in five areas: community safety; crime prevention; traffic support; community policing and investigation support.[78] They are peace officers but are not police officers.[79] CSOs are appointed as special constable under the RCMP Act.[80] The CSO program is scheduled to be dismantled in 2015.[69]
Aboriginal Community Constables (ACC)
A pilot program that began in April 2011 where ACCs are armed, uniformed peace officers who are engaged in policing activities in their home First Nations and Inuit communities in Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Alberta, and Nunavut.[80] Their function is to engage their communities in active crime prevention/reduction activities, and building positive relationships between their communities and the RCMP but can also provide tactical, enforcement and investigational support to core resources as a secondary function.[80][81] The program is scheduled to be merged into the Community Constable program in 2015.[68]
Special constables (S/Cst.)
Employees of the RCMP, they have varied duties depending on where they are deployed, but are often given this designation because of an expertise they possess which needs to be applied in a certain area. For example, an Aboriginal person might be appointed a special constable in order to assist regular members as they police an Aboriginal community where English is not well understood, and where the special constable speaks the language well.
From the early years of policing in northern Canada, and well into the 1950s, local aboriginal people were hired by the RCMP as special constables and were employed as guides and to obtain and care for sled dog teams. Many of these former special constables still reside in the North to this day and are still involved in regimental functions of the RCMP.
A row of uniforms
Civilian members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
While not delegated the powers of police officers, they are instead hired for their specialized scientific, technological, communications and administrative skills. Since the RCMP is a multi-faceted law enforcement organization with responsibilities for federal, provincial and municipal policing duties, it offers employment opportunities for civilian members as professional partners within Canada's national police force.

Civilian members represent approximately 14% of the total RCMP employee population, and are employed within RCMP establishments in most geographical areas of Canada. The following is a list of the most common categories of employment that may be available to interested and qualified individuals.

Public Service Employees
Also referred to as Public Servants, PSes or PSEs, they provide much of the administrative support for the RCMP in the form of detachment clerks and other administrative support at the headquarters level. They are not police officers, do not wear a uniform, have no police authority and are not bound by the RCMP Act.
Municipal Employees

Abbreviated as "ME" they are found in RCMP detachments where a contract exists with a municipality to provide front-line policing. MEs are not actually employees of the RCMP, but are instead employed by the local municipality to work in the RCMP detachment. They conduct the same duties that a PSE would and are required to meet the same reliability and security clearance to do so. Many detachment buildings house a combination of municipal and provincially funded detachments, and therefore there are often PSEs and MEs found working together in them.


The rank system of the RCMP illustrates their origin as a paramilitary force. The insignia were based upon the Canadian Army/British Army. of the time, which is almost identical to that of the current Canadian Army. Higher ranks have been increased over the years since the formation of the force, whereas the rank of inspector, which was initially a subaltern, is now a field officer level, the lower officer ranks having been dropped. With the military introducing the warrant officer, the RCMP non-commissioned officers were maintained using the older military style.[83]

The numbers are current as of September 1, 2015[6]

Commissioner Deputy Commissioner Assistant Commissioner Chief Superintendent Superintendent Inspector
Commissaire Sous-commissaire Commissaire adjoint Surintendant principal Surintendant Inspecteur
1 7 26 58 179 348
Corps Sergeant Major Sergeant Major Staff Sergeant Major Staff Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Constable
Sergent-major du corps Sergent-major Sergent-major d'état major Sergent d'état-major Sergent Caporal Gendarme
1 1 13 812 1,923 3,377 11,491
No Insignia

The ranks of inspector and higher are commissioned ranks and are appointed by the Governor-in-Council. Depending on the dress, badges are worn on the shoulder as slip-ons, on shoulder boards, or directly on the epaulettes. The lower ranks are non-commissioned officers and the insignia continues to be based on British army patterns. Since 1990, the non-commissioned officers' rank insignia has been embroidered on the epaulette slip-ons. Non-commissioned rank badges are worn on the right sleeve of the scarlet/blue tunic and blue jacket. The constables wear no rank insignia. There are also Special Constables, Reserve Constables, Auxiliary Constables, and Students who wear identifying insignia.

The Bath star represents the military Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

Equipment and vehicles

Land fleet

An emergency command vehicle in Burnaby, British Columbia
RCMP truck at the G20 summit in Toronto

RCMP Land Transport Fleet Inventory includes:[84]

Marine craft

RCMP-CCG vessel Simmonds with CCGS Cape Hurd

The RCMP is responsible for policing in Canadian Internal Waters, including the territorial sea and contiguous zone as well as the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway; such operations are provided by the RCMP's Federal Services Directorate and includes enforcing Canada's environment, fisheries, customs and immigration laws. In provinces and municipalities where the RCMP performs contract policing, the force is also responsible for policing on freshwater lakes and rivers.

To meet these challenges, the RCMP operates what is known as the Marine Division, with five Robert Allan Ltd.–designed high-speed catamaran patrol vessels; Inkster and the Commissioner-class Nadon, Higgitt, Lindsay and Simmonds, based on all three coasts and manned by officers specially trained in maritime enforcement. Inkster is based in Prince Rupert, BC, Simmonds is stationed on the south coast of Newfoundland, and the rest are located on the Pacific Coast.[85] Simmonds sports the RCMP badge, but is otherwise painted with Canadian Coast Guard colours and the marking Coast Guard Police. The other four vessels are painted with blue and white RCMP colours.

The RCMP owns and operates 377 smaller boats at various locations across Canada, this number comprising all vessels less than 9.2 m (30 ft) long. This category ranges from canoes and car toppers to rigid-hulled inflatables and stable, commercially built, inboard/outboard vessels. Individual detachments often have smaller high-speed rigid-hulled inflatable boats and other purpose-built vessels for inland waters, some of which can be hauled by road to the nearest launching point.[85]

RCMP Ship Fleet
Ship Name Type Class Base Specifications Propulsion Top Speed Builder Year Commissioned Crew
Inkster Patrol vessel n/a Prince Rupert, BC 19.75 m (64.8 ft)
fast patrol aluminum catamaran
25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph)+ Allied Shipbuilders Limited of North Vancouver, BC 1996 4
Nadon Patrol vessel Commissioner Class PV (Raven Class) Nanaimo, BC 17.7 m (58 ft)
fast patrol catamaran
2 × 820 hp (610 kW) D2840 LE401 V-10 MAN Diesel engines 36 kn (67 km/h; 41 mph) Robert Allan Ltd. 1991 4
Higgitt Patrol vessel Commissioner Class PV Campbell River, BC 17.7 m (58 ft)
fast patrol catamaran
2 × 820 hp (610 kW) D2840 LE401 V-10 MAN Diesel engines 36 kn (67 km/h; 41 mph) Robert Allan Ltd. 1992 4
Lindsay Patrol vessel Commissioner Class PV Patricia Bay, Victoria, BC 17.7 m (58 ft)
fast patrol catamaran
2 × 820 hp (610 kW) D2840 LE401 V-10 MAN Diesel engines 36 kn (67 km/h; 41 mph) Robert Allan Ltd. 1993 4
Simmonds Patrol vessel Commissioner Class PV South coast Newfoundland 17.7 m (58 ft)
fast patrol catamaran
2 × 820 hp (610 kW) D2840 LE401 V-10 MAN Diesel engines 36 kn (67 km/h; 41 mph) Robert Allan Ltd. 1995 4

Aircraft fleet

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pilatus PC-12, Winnipeg c. 2007
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cessna Caravan on floats at Vancouver International Airport.

As of May 2014 the RCMP had 40 aircraft (9 helicopters and 31 fixed-wing aircraft) registered with Transport Canada (TC).[86] with 41 listed on the RCMP Air Services website, excepting the Quest Kodiak.[87] All aircraft are operated and maintained by the Air Services Branch. Only the Twin Otter and the Avanti are twin-engine aircraft, all the others, including the helicopters, are single engine.

RCMP Fleet
Aérospatiale AS35078AS 350B3Helicopter, AStar 350 or "Squirrel"
Cessna 206 Stationair610*U206G, T206HFixed wing, Stationair (Station wagon of the Air), general aviation aircraft
Cessna 208 Caravan33208, 208BFixed wing, Caravan, short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft
Cessna 210 Centurion2*210RFixed wing, Centurion, high-performance general aviation aircraft
Twin Otter12300 SeriesFixed wing, 20-passenger STOL feederliner and utility aircraft
Eurocopter EC120 Colibri22EC 120BLight helicopter, "Hummingbird"
Piaggio P180 Avanti Avanti00P180Fixed wing, business aircraft, pusher configured. Sold on July 17, 2014.[88]
Pilatus PC-121715PC-12/45, PC-12/47, PC-12/47EFixed wing, turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft
Quest Kodiak10100Fixed wing, un-pressurized, turboprop-powered fixed-tricycle-gear, STOL

Weapons and intervention options

RCMP issue Smith & Wesson Model 5946 service pistol with Hogue grip
RCMP issue Taser International X-26 conducted energy weapon

Past weapons and intervention options

Ceremonial weapons and symbols of office

In 1973, Wilkinson Sword produced a number of commemorative swords to celebrate the RCMP centennial. None of these swords were ever used ceremonially, and were strictly collectibles. Wilkinson Sword also made a commemorative centennial tomahawk and miniature "letter opener" models of their centennial swords. Winchester Repeating Arms Company produced an RCMP commemorative centennial version of their Model 94 rifle in .30-30 calibre. Serial numbers with the prefix "MP" were sold to serving RCMP members.

A collection of RCMP souvenirs from around Canada.

The Mounties have been immortalized as symbols of Canadian culture in numerous Hollywood Northwestern movies and television series, which often feature the image of the Mountie as square-jawed, stoic, and polite, yet with a steely determination and physical toughness that sometimes appears superhuman. Coupled with the adage that the Mountie "always gets his man," the image projects them as fearsome, incorruptible, dogged yet gentle champions of the law. The RCMP's motto is actually Maintiens le droit, French for "Defending the Law".[1][2] The Hollywood motto derives from a comment by a Montana newspaper, the Fort Benton Record: "They fetch their man every time".[90]

Early depictions

In 1912, Ralph Connor's Corporal Cameron of the North-West Mounted Police: A Tale of the MacLeod Trail appeared, becoming an international best-selling novel. Mounties fiction became a popular genre in both pulp magazines and book form. Among the best-selling authors who specialized in tales of the Mounted Police were James Oliver Curwood, Laurie York Erskine, James B Hendryx, T Lund, Harwood Steele (the son of Sam Steele), and William Byron Mowery.

In other media, a famous example is the radio and television series, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Dudley Do-Right (of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show) is a 1960s example of the comic aspect of the Mountie myth, as is Klondike Kat, from Total Television. The Broadway musical and Hollywood movie Rose-Marie is a 1930s example of its romantic side. A successful combination were a series of Renfrew of the Royal Mounted boy's adventure novels written by Laurie York Erskine beginning in 1922 running to 1941. In the 1930s Erskine narrated a Sgt Renfrew of the Mounties radio show and a series of films with actor-singer James Newill playing Renfrew were released between 1937 and 1940. In 1953 portions of the films were mixed with new sequences of Newill for a Renfrew of the Mounted television series.

A former Mounted Police corporal (1919–1923), Bruce Carruthers, served as an unofficial technical advisor to Hollywood in many films with RCMP characters.[91]

Modern culture

In 1959, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation aired R.C.M.P., a half-hour dramatic series about an R.C.M.P. detachment keeping the peace and fighting crime. Filmed in black and white, in and around Ottawa by Crawley Films, the series was co-produced with the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and ran for 39 episodes. It was noted for its pairing of Québécois and Anglo officers.

Canadians also poke fun at the RCMP with Sergeant Renfrew and his faithful dog Cuddles in various sketches produced by the Royal Canadian Air Farce comedy troupe. On That '70s Show Mounties were played by SCTV alumni Joe Flaherty and Dave Thomas. The British have also exploited the myth: the BBC television series Monty Python's Flying Circus featured a group of Mounties singing the chorus in The Lumberjack Song in the lumberjack sketch.

The Mounties on parade in Iqaluit, Canada Day, 1999.

The 1972–90 CBC series The Beachcombers featured a character named Constable John Constable who attempted to enforce the law in the town of Gibsons, British Columbia.

In comic books, the Marvel Comics characters of Alpha Flight were described on several occasions as "RCMP auxiliaries," and two of their members, Snowbird and the second Major Mapleleaf were depicted as serving members of the force. In the latter case, due to trademark issues, Major Mapleleaf was described as a "Royal Canadian Mountie" in the opening roll call pages of each issue of Alpha Flight he appeared in.

Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin starred in the 1981 movie Death Hunt that fictionalized the RCMP pursuit of Albert Johnson.

In the early 1990s, Canadian professional wrestler Jacques Rougeau utilized the gimmick of "The Mountie" while wrestling for the WWF. He typically wore the Red Serge to the ring, and carried a shock stick as an illegal weapon. As his character was portrayed as an evil Mountie, the RCMP ultimately won an injunction preventing Rougeau from wrestling as this character in Canada, though he was not prevented from doing so outside the country. He briefly held the Intercontinental Championship in 1992.

The 1998 swan song of Nick Berry's time on UK drama Heartbeat featured his character, Sergeant Nick Rowan, transferring to Canada and taking the rank of constable in the Mounties. The special telemovie was titled Heartbeat: Changing Places.

The 1994–98 TV series Due South paired a Mountie (and his deaf half-wolf) with a streetwise American detective cleaning up the streets of Chicago, mainly deriving its entertainment from the perceived differences in attitude between these two countries' police forces.

A pair of Mounties staffed the RCMP detachment in the fictional town of Lynx River, Northwest Territories, in the CBC series North of 60. The series, which aired from 1992 to 1998, was about events in the mostly native community, but the Mounties featured prominently in each episode.

Another TV series from the 1990s, Bordertown featured a NWMP corporal paired with a U.S. marshal securing law and order on a frontier U.S.-Canada border town. In the ABC TV mini-series Answered by Fire, at least three mounties are featured.

The 1987 Brian De Palma film The Untouchables featured cooperation between the Treasury Department task force, led by Eliot Ness, and the Mounties against liquor smuggling across the Canada–United States border.

The 1995 album C'est Cheese by Canadian musical comedy group The Arrogant Worms includes "The Mountie Song", which tells the story of a dissatisfied Mountie.

In his 1999, album Soiree Newfoundland musician A. Frank Willis included "Savage Cop in Savage Cove" which was based on a true story & went on to become a big hit.[92]

From 2011, the CTV fantasy drama series "The Listener" began to regularly feature characters who worked for the Integrated Investigative Bureau, a fictional division of the R.C.M.P. that brought together various specialists, officers and civilian consultants to work on high profile or federal cases. Although characters in the employ of the IIB were rarely, if ever, depicted wearing uniform, they were often addressed by their ranks - two main characters were Sergeant Michelle McClusky and Corporal Dev Clark.

Mountie merchandise

There are products and merchandise that are made in the image of the RCMP, like Mounties statues or hats. Before 1995, the RCMP had little control over these products.

The RCMP Heritage Centre is a multi-million dollar museum designed by Arthur Erickson that opened May 2007 in Regina, Saskatchewan at the RCMP Academy, Depot Division. It replaced the old RCMP museum and is designed to celebrate the role of the force in Canada's history.


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police received an international license on April 1, 1995, requiring those who use the RCMP to pay a licensing fee. Proceeds from the fees is used for community awareness programmes.[93] Those that do not pay the licensing fee are legally unable to use the name of the RCMP or their correct uniforms, though a film such as Canadian Bacon used the name "Royal Mounted Canadian Police" (RMCP) and the character in the Dudley Do-Right film did not wear accurate insignia.

Through a Master Licensing Agreement (MLA) with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the RCMP Foundation is responsible for managing the commercial use of the RCMP name, image, and protected marks.[94] The Foundation issues selected companies a royalty-based agreement allowing them to produce and market high quality official RCMP merchandise. Walt Disney Co. (Canada) Ltd. was contracted to aid in the initial set up of the Licensing Program[95] but contrary to popular belief, Disney never owned or controlled any of the RCMP's protected marks.

Following the expiration of the Disney contract in 2000, all responsibilities and activities were taken over by the then Executive Director and his staff, reporting to the Foundation President and Board of Directors. In 2007, through a decree signed by Commissioner Beverley Busson, the operating name was changed to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Foundation.

Controversies and Criticism

American historian Andrew Graybill has argued that the Mounted Police closely resemble the Texas Rangers in many ways. He argues that each protected the established order by confining and removing Indians, by tightly controlling the mixed blood peoples (the African Americans in Texas and the Métis in Canada), assisted the large-scale ranchers against the small-scale ranchers and farmers who fenced the land, and broke the power of labor unions that tried to organize the workers of industrial corporations.[96]

In October 2016, the RCMP issued an apology for harassment, discrimination, and sexual abuse of female officers and civilian members. Additionally they set aside a $100 million fund to compensate these victims. Over 20,000 current and past female employees that were employed after 1974 are eligible.[97]

See also


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  12. Hewitt, Steve. "Policing the Promised Land: The RCMP and Negative Nation-building in Alberta and Saskatchewan in the Interwar Period", The Prairie West as Promised Land ed. R. Douglas Francis and Chris Kitzan (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2007), 318-320.
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  15. Reg Whitaker, "Left-Wing Dissent and the State: Canada in the Cold War Era." In C. E. S. Franks, Dissent and the State, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1988, 195. ISBN 0-19-540742-3
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Coordinates: 45°25′N 75°40′W / 45.42°N 75.66°W / 45.42; -75.66

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