Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (French: Gendarmerie Royale du Canada [GRC], literally Royal Gendarmerie of Canada; colloquially known as Mounties, and internally as The Force) is the federal, national, and paramilitary police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized forces in the world. With an on-strength establishment of 24,578 personnel, as of January 1, 2007, it is also the largest police force in Canada.

The RCMP was formed in 1920 by the merger of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP, founded 1873) with the Dominion Police (founded 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 symbology has been inherited from its days as the NWMP, including the distinctive Red Serge uniform, paramilitary heritage, and mythos as a frontier force. The RCMP/GRC wording is specfically protected under the Trade-marks Act.


As the federal police force of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is responsible for enforcing federal and in many cases, provincial and local laws. Unlike most other federal police forces, however, it also has a major role in front-line policing throughout the country, including in provincial jurisdictions; although the provinces and territories are constitutionally responsible for law and order, eight of them have chosen to contract most or all of their policing responsibilities to the RCMP. The force, consequently, operates under the direction of the provincial governments in regard to provincial and municipal law enforcement. The exceptions are Ontario, Quebec, and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, which have their own provincial police forces: the Ontario Provincial Police, the Sûreté du Québec, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, respectively. In the three territories, the RCMP serves as the sole territorial police force. Additionally, many municipalities throughout Canada contract the RCMP to serve as their police force.

The RCMP is responsible for an unusually large breadth of duties, from policing in isolated rural towns, the far north, and urban areas; providing protection services for the Monarch, Governor General, Prime Minister and other ministers of the Crown, visiting dignitaries, and diplomatic missions; enforcing federal laws, including wire fraud, counterfeiting, drug trafficking and other related matters; providing counterterrorism and domestic security; and participating in various international policing efforts. The RCMP Security Service was a specialized political intelligence and counterintelligence branch with national security responsibilities, but was replaced with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in 1984, following revelations of illegal covert operations relating to the Quebec separatist movement. Duties, conduct and operational and reporting guidelines are very specifically laid out in a detailed document known as the Commissioner's Standing Orders, or CSOs.


Origins and early activities

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has its beginnings in the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), which was established on May 23, 1873, by Queen Victoria, on the advice of her Canadian Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, with the intent of bringing law and order to, and asserting sovereignty over, the Northwest Territories. The need was particularly urgent given reports of American whiskey traders, in particular those of Fort Whoop-Up, causing trouble in the region, culminating in the Cypress Hills Massacre. The new force was initially to be called the North West Mounted Rifles, but this proposal was rejected as sounding too militaristic in nature, which Macdonald feared would antagonize both First Nations and Americans; however, the force was organized along the lines of a cavalry regiment in the British Army, and was to wear red uniforms. The NWMP was modeled directly on the Royal Irish Constabulary, a civilian paramilitary armed police force with both mounted and foot elements under the authority of what was then the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. First NWMP commissioner, Colonel George Arthur French visited Ireland to learn its methods.

The initial force, commanded by French, set out from Fort Dufferin, Manitoba, on July 8, 1874, on a march to what is now Alberta. The group comprised 22 officers, 287 men called constables and sub-constables 310 horses, 67 wagons, 114 ox-carts, 18 yoke of oxen, 50 cows and 40 calves. An account of the journey was recorded in the pictures of Henri Julien, an artist from the Canadian Illustrated News, who accompanied the expedition.

Historians have theorized that failure of the 1874 March West would not have completely ended the Canadian federal government's vision of settling the country's western plains, but could have delayed it for many years. It could also have encouraged the Canadian Pacific Railway to seek a route for its transcontinental railway that went through the well-mapped and partially settled valley of the North Saskatchewan River, touching on Prince Albert, Battleford and Edmonton, thereby making no economic reason for the creation of cities like Brandon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Medicine Hat, and Calgary, which could, in turn, have tempted American expansionists to make a play for the Canadian prairies' flat, empty southern regions.

The NWMP's early activities included containing the whiskey trade and enforcing agreements with the First Nations peoples; to that end, the commanding officer of the force arranged to be sworn in as a justice of the peace, which allowed for magisterial authority within the Mounties' jurisdiction. In the early years, the force's dedication to enforcing the law on behalf of the First Nations peoples impressed the latter enough to encourage good relations between they and the Crown. In the summer of 1876, Sitting Bull and thousands of Sioux fled from the US Army towards what is now southern Saskatchewan, and James Morrow Walsh of the NWMP was charged with maintaining control in the large Sioux settlement at Wood Mountain. Walsh and Sitting Bull became good friends, and the peace at Wood Mountain was maintained. In 1885, the NWMP helped to quell the North-West Rebellion led by Louis Riel. They suffered particularly heavy losses during the Battle of Duck Lake, but saw little other active combat.

Klondike Gold Rush

In 1894, concerned about the influx of American miners and the ongoing liquor trade, the Canadian government sent inspector Charles Constantine to report on conditions in the Yukon. Constantine correctly forecast a coming gold rush and urgently recommended sending a force to secure Canadian sovereignty there and collect customs duties; he returned the following year with a force of 20 men. Under the command of Constantine, and his successor in 1898, the more famous Sam Steele, the NWMP distinguished itself during the Klondike Gold Rush, which started in 1896, making it one of the most peaceful and orderly such affairs in history. The NWMP not only enforced criminal law, but also collected customs duties, established a number of rules such as the "ton of goods" requirement for prospectors to enter the Yukon to avoid another famine, mandatory boat inspections for those wanting to travel the Yukon River, and created the Blue Ticket used to expel undesirables from the Klondike. The Mounties did tolerate certain illegal activities, such as gambling and prostitution, and the force did not succeed in its attempt to establish order and Canadian sovereignty in Skagway, Alaska, at the head of the Lynn Canal, instead creating the customs post at the summit of the Chilkoot Pass. At that same time, the dissolution of the NWMP was being discussed in the House of Commons, but the gold rush prospectors were so impressed by the Mounties that the force became famous and its continuation was ensured.

Evolution of the force

The North-West Mounted Police's jurisdiction was extended northward to the Yukon Territory in 1895 and then again in 1903 to the Arctic coast, with the establishment of a post at Cape Fullerton. In June 1904, the prefix "Royal" was conferred on the NWMP by King Edward VII. Jurisdiction was extended to the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905, and to Manitoba's new annexation in 1912. During World War One the RNWMP was responsible for "border patrols, surveillance of enemy aliens, and enforcement of national security regulations." In 1917, provincial policing contracts were terminated, and the RNWMP was responsible only for federal policing in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Territories. Come 1918, however, enforcement was once again extended to all four Western Provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. A squadron was deployed to Vladivostok, Russia in late 1918 as part of the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force. Six months later, in June 1919, the RNWMP was called in to repress the general strike in Manitoba's capital, Winnipeg, where officers fired into a crowd of strikers, killing two and causing injury to thirty others. Another strike of that scale was never seen again, but clashes between the RNWMP and strikers continued; Mounties killed three strikers in 1931, when striking coal miners from Bienfait, Saskatchewan demonstrated in nearby Estevan. These incidents did not help the image of the RNWMP, which, since the end of First World War, was being looked at as an outdated institution, more suited to the 19th century frontier than with an industrialising 20th century Canada. It was in this period that the force was faced, again, with dissolution, but was saved in 1920 when it merged with the Dominion Police 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 counter-intelligence.

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 the relief camps, therefore failed to reach Ottawa, but nevertheless had profound political reverberations.

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.

The RCMP also began actively enforcing Canada's new drug laws in the 1920s, and provided assistance to numerous other federal agencies, such as helping immigration officials deport immigrants and enforcing the residential school system for First Nations' children.

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 (1944), and the first to circumnavigate North America (1950).

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


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. What began as a perceived need to create a bulwark against communism had, by the 1950s, been extended to homosexuality because homosexual acts were illegal, considered a sign of “character weakness,” and because the KGB could use it to blackmail civil servants into revealing state secrets. Scores of people were fired as part of this campaign, which included the development of a “fruit machine.” This machine was based on the premise that changes in pupil dilation when viewing beefcake photos of nude men would scientifically determine whether or not a test subject was gay. After four years, the machine failed to produce results, and the program was discontinued.

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 after 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

In 1993, the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), were transferred to the Canadian Forces, creating a new unit called Joint Task Force Two (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.The RCMP has also provided training overseas in Iraq and other peace-keeping missions.

On March 3, 2005, four RCMP officers were shot dead during an operation to recover stolen property and investigate a possible marijuana grow-op in Rochfort Bridge, Alberta. Shooter Jim Roszko, 46, then shot and killed himself. It was the single worst multiple killing of RCMP officers since the Northwest Rebellion. One of the four Mounties killed had been on the job for only seventeen days. The victims were:

  • Const. Lionide (Leo) Nicholas Johnston, 34 Mayerthorpe Detachment
  • Const. Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon, 28 Whitecourt Town Detachment General Policing and Highway Patrol
  • Const. Brock Warren Myrol, 29 Mayerthorpe Detachment
  • Const. Peter Christopher Schiemann, 25 Mayerthorpe Detachment General Policing and Highway Patrol

On October 29 2005, constable Paul Koester shot and killed Ian Bush while he was in custody. An internal investigation resulted in no action being taken against the constable, and, as a result, a public inquest was commissioned. The inquest recommended that the RCMP refrain from carrying out internal investigations with regard to fatal incidents involving the RCMP and the public.

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

  • Const. Robin Cameron, 29: Spiritwood Detachment
  • Const. Marc Bourdages, 26: Spiritwood Detachment

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. (PA1 John Masson, "Territorial Teamwork", Coast Guard Magazine 2/2006, pp. 26–27).

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 forcibly 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.

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 nation-wide arrest warrant was issued for Emrah Bulatci. Bulatci was apprehended on October 12 in Edmonton, Alberta.

On October 14, 2007, Robert Dziekański, a Polish immigrant, was killed at Vancouver International Airport. Dziekański had failed to clear customs and after 8 hours became agitated. RCMP officers were called to the scene after he threw a computer and a small table. During his arrest, he was tasered at least twice within about 25 seconds of the officers arriving. After dropping to the floor, he was held down and handcuffed by four officers. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. The incident was videotaped and eventually released to the public, resulting in a public outcry over the RCMP's handling of the incident and has provoked considerable debate about the use of tasers in policing.

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.

In 2007, the RCMP was named Newsmaker of the Year by the Canadian Press.

History of the RCMP uniform

The RCMP are famous for their distinctive Red Serge, referred to as "Review Order" (of dress uniform) consisting of: high collared scarlet tunic, midnight blue breeches with yellow leg strip, Sam Browne belt with shoulder cross strap and white sidearm lanyard, brown riding boots (possibly with spurs), brown Stetson hat (wide, flat brimmed) 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 penneted cavalry lance (but not cavalry sabre). The maneuvers of "The Ride" are performed to musical accompaniment, including the finale, which is a line abreast charge with lances carried horizontally with tips forward as for a mounted assault . 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 to the Opening of Parliament, that is when escorting His or Her Excellency's open landau (carriage).

The Red Serge tunic that identified initially the NWMP, and later the RNWMP and RCMP, is of the standard British military pattern. 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 to both to emphasize the British nature of the force and to differentiate it from the blue American military uniforms. The blue shoulder epaulets were added in the 1920s, long after King Edward VII granted the Force "Royal" status for its service in the Second Boer War, replacing gold-trimmed scarlet straps from the earlier uniforms. 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.

Initially the NWMP wore buff trousers. Later dark blue trousers 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 trousers; however, blue trousers were considered early on, although with a white strap. Dark blue with yellow-gold strapping is another British cavalry tradition, and Canadian city police forces frequently wear dark blue trousers with a narrow red strap of infantry tradition.

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. 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.

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 are worn in the summer by all members with no tie. Winter dress consists of a long-sleeved shirt and tie for all members and, 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. On March 15, the federal government, not without its protesters, decided that Sikhs may wear turbans while serving as RCMP officers.

Women in the RCMP

On May 23 1974 RCMP Commissioner M.J. Nadon announced that the RCMP would begin to accept applications for female members of the force. This opened up positions that had been previously reserved for male members. Troop 17 was the first troop of 32 female regular members, who arrived at Depot in Regina on September 18 and 19, 1974, to start training. This first all-female troop graduated from Depot on March 3, 1975.

In 1981 the first female was promoted to corporal and the first females served on the musical ride; in 1987 the first female served in a foreign post; in 1990 the first female was appointed detachment commander; in 1992 the first female officers were commissioned and in 1998 the first female Assistant Commissioner was appointed.

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.)

A Regiment of Dragoons

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

The Boer War

During the Second Boer War, members of the North-West Mounted Police were given leaves of absence to fight with the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles (CMR) and Lord 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.

World War I

During World War I, 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 6 August 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

World War II

In 1939, No. 1 Provost Company (RCMP), Canadian Provost Corps, was raised for service in Europe. The unit served with distinction throughout World War II.


As a regiment of dragoons, the RCMP is entitled to wear battle honours for its war service as well as carry a guidon. It was awarded this status in 1921, with its first guidon presented in 1935. As a regiment, 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

  • Northwest Canada 1885, South Africa 1900–02
  • The Great War: France and Flanders 1918, Siberia 1918–19
  • The Second World War: Europe, 1939–45

Honorary distinction

  • The badge of the Canadian Provost Corps¹

1. Presented 21 September 1957 at a Parliament Hill ceremony for contributions to the Corps during the Second World War.


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: A 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 at Bowden, Alberta. The RCMP headquarters are located in Ottawa, Ontario.


The rank system of the RCMP illustrates their origin as a paramilitary force. The insignia were based upon the Canadian army of the time, which is almost identical to that of the current British 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.

The ranks of the RCMP, in English and French with their insignia, are (numbers as of January 1, 2007):

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, auxiliary constables, and students who wear identifying insignia.

Special Designations

Besides the regular RCMP officers, several different types of designations exists which gives them different powers and responsibilities over policing issues.

Currently, there are:

  • Auxiliary constables: 2,400
  • Community Safety Officers: 12
  • Special constables: 63
  • Civilian members: 2,978
  • Public servants: 4,626

Auxiliary constables are volunteers within their own community. 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. Their duty consist of mostly cordoning areas, participate in community policing, backup in situations where regular members are overwhelmed. They are identified by the wording of 'RCMP Auxiliary' on cars, jackets and shoulder flashes.

Community Safety Officers are a new designation within the RCMP, beginning July 7, 2008 in the Province of British Columbia, modelled after the UK Police Community Support Officer program. Community Safety Officers are paid, unarmed RCMP staff members with similar RCMP uniform but distinct arm patch. CSOs work with regular members in five areas: Community Safety; Crime Prevention; Traffic Support; Community Policing and Investigation Support. They are peace officers but do not have full police powers.

Special constables are employees of RCMP, 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 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 source 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, especially with Canada's declaration that 2005 be recognized as the "Year of the Veteran".

Civilian members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are not delegated the powers of a police officer. They are 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.



Computer systems development

Car fleet

Marine Craft

The Marine Detachment on the Canadian west (Pacific) coast is based on Vancouver Island at Nanaimo, British Columbia (province). Marine Detachment operates several purpose-designed catamarans which are named after former Commssioners, such as Higgot.

Small powered watercraft such as rigid hull inflatable boats are utilized by individual detachments.

Aircraft fleet

As of January 2007 the Aerospace Source Book (ASB) published by Aviation Week & Space Technology showed the RCMP operating a fleet of 33 aircraft (8 helicopters and 25 fixed-wing aircraft. As of 1 April 2007 the RCMP had 41 aircraft (11 helicopters and 30 fixed-wing aircraft) registered with Transport Canada (TC). 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
Aircraft Number
Variants Idents Notes
Bell 206 JetRanger 4 3 L-1, L-4 C-FMPK, C-GMPA, C-GMPV Helicopter, JetRanger
Cessna 182 Skylane 1 1 182Q C-GFZV Fixed wing, Skylane, light utility aircraft
Cessna 206 Stationair 1 5 U206G,T206H C-FDGM, C-FDTM, C-FHGY, C-FSWC,
Fixed wing, Stationair (Station wagon of the Air), general aviation aircraft
Cessna 208 Caravan 3 3 208, 208B C-FRPH, C-FSUJ, C-GMPR Fixed wing, Caravan, short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft
Cessna 210 Centurion 4 4 210R C-FMOM, C-GHVP, C-GNMK, C-GTCT Fixed wing, Centurion, high-performance general aviation aircraft
de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver 0 1 Turbo-Beaver III C-FMPC Fixed wing, bush plane
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 2 2 300 Series C-FMPL, C-GMPJ Fixed wing, 20-passenger STOL feederliner and utility aircraft
Eurocopter EC 120 Colibri 0 1 EC 120B C-GMPT Light helicopter, "Hummingbird"
Eurocopter AS 350 Ecureuil 4 7 AS 350B3 C-FGSB, C-FMPG, C-FMPH, C-FMPP,
Helicopter, AStar 350 or "Squirrel"
Piaggio P180 Avanti 1 1 P180 C-GFOX Fixed wing, business aircraft, pusher configured
Pilatus PC-12 13 13 PC-12/45 C-FMPA, C-FMPB, C-FMPE, C-FMPN,
Fixed wing, turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft



The Royal Canadian Mounted Police received an international licence on 1 April 1995 requiring those who use the RCMP to pay a licensing fee. Proceeds from the fees would be used for community awareness programmes. 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.

The Mounted Police Foundation was set up in 1995 to handle the licensing issues to ensure only high-quality products were sold. However, as the Mounted Police Foundation did not have the expertise on licensing and marketing, they contracted these responsibilities out to Walt Disney Co. (Canada) Ltd., the Toronto-based branch of The Walt Disney Company. This generated some controversies, as some people feared that the deal would threaten the Canadian autonomy in representing Canada The contract with Disney expired in 2000. The licensing program is now operated by the Mounted Police Foundation.

The RCMP in popular culture

The Mounties have been immortalized as symbols of Canadian culture in numerous Hollywood 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. (Actually, the RCMP's motto is Maintiens le droit, French for "Uphold the Law", also translated as "Maintain the Right", or "Uphold the Right". The Hollywood motto derives from a comment by the Montana newspaper, the Fort Benton Record: "They fetch their man every time."

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. Mountie 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. 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 on the Force.

The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen on the animated television series The Ren and Stimpy Show is clearly a reference to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Modern culture

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 70's Show Mounties were played by SCTV alums 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 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 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.

More recently, the 1994–98 TV series Due South paired a Mountie (and his deaf pet 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 native community of the town, but the Mounties featured prominently in each episode.

Another TV series from 1990s, Bordertown featured a NWMP corporal paired with a U.S. marshal securing law and order on a frontier U.S.-Canadian bordertown. The Mounties also briefly appeared in an episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, when after a mind taking battle between Mentok and Shado, the entire jury in the courtroom seems to have turned into Mounties. In the ABC TV mini-series Answered By Fire, there are at least three mounties featured.

The 1987 Brian de Palma film The Untouchables featured cooperation between Eliot Ness's Treasury Department task force and the Mounties against liquor smuggling across the American-Canadian border.

On the cartoon show that is a parody of the reality show Survivor, Total Drama Island the episode Up the Creek, One of the Contestants, Izzy fled the Island after the RCMP found her (she accidentally blew up the kitchen while training with the Reserves). Technically making her the one voted off.

Mountie merchandise

There are products and merchandise that are made in the image of the RCMP, like Mountie statues or Mountie 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.


See also

Similar federal authorities in other countries


External links

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