What is the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?


Quick Answer

The history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began in May 1873 following the formation of a central police force by the Canadian Parliament. This initial force, known as the North-West Mounted Police, merged with the eastern Dominion Police on Feb. 1, 1920. After the merge, the force became known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and placed its national headquarters in Regina, Saskatchewan.

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Full Answer

The police unit helped aid in the western expansion of Canada, and by 1885, it provided provincial policing from regional headquarters in Fort Calgary and Fort Edmonton in Alberta and Fort Walsh and Fort Pelly in Saskatchewan. The units also helped police the Klondike Gold Rush. Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier attempted to disband the force in 1896 but did not succeed.

In 1916, the regional contracts ended in Alberta and Saskatchewan, but the Saskatchewan contract renewed in 1928. By 1932, the unit held contracts in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and grew to 2,350 members. The unit assumed provincial policing duties in Newfoundland and British Columbia in 1950. The first women joined the unit in 1974, and the units started to police airports, provide VIP security and aid drug enforcement in the 1970s. By the end of the 20th century, the unit added policing organized crime, terrorism, illicit drugs and economic crimes to its list of responsibilities.

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