The Sûreté du Québec or SQ (French for "Quebec Security" or "Quebec Safety", but usually translated loosely as "Quebec Provincial Police") is the provincial police force of Quebec. The headquarters of the Sûreté du Québec is located on Parthenais street in Montreal and the force employs roughly 5,163 officers.
The primary function of the Sûreté du Québec is to enforce provincial laws, some municipal bylaws, the criminal code, and many other laws throughout Quebec and to assist municipal police forces when needed. Members of the force can also act by law as forest conservation agents for example. The Sûreté du Québec is also responsible for providing municipal police services to municipalities in the province that do not otherwise have municipal or regional police services. By law, that includes municipalities with under 50,000 people. As such, the force is mainly present in small rural and suburban areas. The force also patrols provincial highways. In addition, the Sûreté du Québec can investigate any incident that involves wrong-doing by a municipal police force or a case where a police intervention caused death.
In 1900, two distinct provincial police forces were created: the Office of Provincial Detectives of Montreal, in response to a crime wave in that city, and the Revenue Police, whose mission was to collect taxes. In 1902, the government decided that the provincial police should no longer be directed by a judge but by an officer of the police themselves. Augustin McCarthy was chosen as the first chief drawn from the ranks of the police.
In 1922, two headquarters were established, one in Quebec City, headed by McCarthy, and one in Montreal, headed by Dieudonné Daniel Lorrain. The Office of Provincial Detectives of Montreal became part of the general provincial police in that year. The Quebec division included 35 police officers and 2 detectives.
In 1925, police officers started patrolling on motorcycles.
The Quebec Provincial Police admitted in August 2007 that they had used undercover police posing as protestors at the 2007 Montebello SPP meetings. The admission was made after a video captured by protestors was widely circulated in the Canadian media and made available on YouTube Although use of undercover agents at protests of this kind is widespread, the video was especially controversial because it appeared to show one of the officers carrying a rock, suggesting to some the police may have been acting as agents provocateurs by inciting violence.