THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RCMP

The rcmp is important to Canada because it provides services from municipal policing to national security intelligence. The rcmp prevents and investigates crime, maintains peace and order, enforces laws, contributes to national security, ensures state officials safety, visits dignitaries and foreign missions, and provides vital operational supports services to there police and law enforcement agencies in Canada. What makes the rcmp unique is that it is a national, federal, provincial, and municipal policing body. Without the rcmp we would not feel safe because we wouldn’t have the group of people we do now dedicating their lives to protecting us. 

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NORTH-WEST MOUNTED POLICE FORCE

Before the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had gotten that name it was originally called the North-West Mounted Police. In may 1873 an act was passed establishing a police force consisting of 150 recruits that in August were sent west to spend the winter at fort Garry and the following spring they were joined by an extra 150 recruits. This new police force was organized through cavalry and regiment and were armed with many weapons such as pistols, carbines, and some small artillery pieces. The uniforms for the police force were scarlet tunics and blue trousers as a symbolic significance of the traditional British army uniform for the indigenous people.

PATROLS AND FORTS ESTABLISHED 

The NWMP had left Dufferin, Manitoba and headed west on July 8 1874. Their destination was southern Alberta, where whisky traders from Montana were operating with the “Blackfoot” people. There had been a serious incident in Cypress Hills the previous June at a whisky trader’s post were several Assiniboine were massacred. In 1876 another major post had been created at Battleford or what is now Saskatchewan. The police posts then began and had extended more and more each year until it covered all the territories. 

REBELLION AND MODERNIZATION 

The NWMP has worked to build close relations with the Indigenous people by helping them prepare for treaty negotiations with the government and settled conflicts with the settlements in the region for a decade and a half. In 1882 the force had increased to 500 men because of buffalo disappearance, crop failures and disenchantment with the distant government in Ottawa. What concerned the police the most was the rising unrest in Saskatchewan valley, they warned Ottawa of their concerns. Ottawa ignored these warnings and a rebellion took charge. In the end the Métis and Indigenous rebels were defeated and the force was increased double to 1000 men. The NWMP was also given a new commissioner , Lawrence Herchmer, who improved the training and taught new systematic approaches to crime prevention which better prepared the force for future rebellions. 

KLONDLIKE AND ARTIC EXPANSION

The government had heard rumours of gold discoveries in the Yukon and sent Inspector Charles Constantine to see the situation in the region. In 1895 20 police were stationed in the Yukon. Although this small group was no match for the full scale gold rush the happened after word got out the everyone else in 1896. By 1899 the number of men went from 20 to 250 men stationed in the Yukon. The strict enforcement was very beneficial because it prevented many deaths due to starvation and exposure by unprepared prospectors. The amount of men stationed there also helped the Klondlike Gold Rush be more orderly. The NWMP was able to turn their attention to other parts in the north after the gold rush needed in 1900. The first police post north of the arctic circle in Fort McPherson was established in 1903. Later on in the year they had began to collect customs from whalers at Herschel Island in the Beaufort Sea.

ROYAL NWMP

In 1904 the word ”royal” was added to North-West mounted police to show the recognition of the many mounted policemen who fought in the South African War. When Alberta and Saskatchewan were created out of the North-West territories the force was rented out to the new provinces in 1905 which meant the RNWMP now acted as provincial police. All was good until the first world war which caused shortages in manpower and gave new security and intelligence duties for the police. Police-service contracts were cancelled with Alberta and Saskatchewan, which maintained their own police forces for a decade and a half. 

RCMP ESTABLISHMENT

The future of the police force was certain due ti the end of the war in 1918 which reduced the need for security work. In may 1919 the president of the Privy Council, N.W Rowell, reported to the cabinet they had two options. The police could either be turned into an army or expanded into a national police force. The second option was chosen i the end. In 1920 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was formed and the headquarters were moved from regina to Ottawa. Throughout the 1920s the main activities for the force were enforcement of narcotic laws, and security and intelligence work. The second activities caused fear for the public of political subversion which then caused the Russian revolution in 1917 and the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. In 1928 a re-negotiation in Saskatchewan let the force return to more normal police duties. 

EXPANSION AND WAR

Within seven years a lot had changed for the RCMP. Major-General James MacBrien became commissioner who made a rapid change. The size of the force doubled in the seven years going from 1350 men to 2350 men as the force took over the provincial policing in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, And P.E.I. Before the death of the Major General in 1938, he had created a policy of sending several member to universities Esch year for advanced training. The first forensic lab in regina was also opened by him that also led to a RCMP Reserve being opened in 1937 preparing for another war that would make heavy demands on the force. By the time the Second world war had arrived the force was much more prepared than the first with plans for protection of strategic installation. 

INTELLIGENCE GATHERING 

Security and intelligence work continued to be a major preoccupation for the police force with the international tensions of the cold war era. The agreement that had developed between politicians without words was that security matters were not open for debate but this quiet agreement was broken by John Diefenbaker’s Conservative opposition attacking the Liberal government for mishandling a case. The liberals retaliated by revealing details of scandal that showed ties between a German women and some former Conservative Cabinet ministers. In 1966 as a result of these cases a royal commission on security was appointed. The commission had made a suggestion in 1968 to replace the RCMP with a civilian intelligence agency but was rejected by the Liberal prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. 

POST-WAR POLICING

A logger’s strike in Newfoundland had the commander of the RCMP to ask the provincial attorney general for 50 extra reinforcements from Ottawa in 1959. The Federal Justice Minister E. David Fulton had refused this request which led the Commissioner L.H Nicholson to resign in protest. Organizing crime, narcotics, and commercial fraud were the three ares of criminal investigation that took up a big part of the force’s time after 1945. To improve the co-operation with other police forces the RCMP  started a national crime intelligence unit across the country to gather information on organized crime. Beginning in 1966 increasing numbers of security fraud and phone bankruptcies caused the force to start a commercial fraud section. 

TRAINING

The RCMP recruits did all their basic training at the Depot Division in regina since 1886. Today the course to join the RCMP is six months long and offers english and french languages and also includes many subjects such as basic criminal law, driving and shooting, fitness and police tactics. Courses at the depot Division also offer fisheries enforcement officers, correctional services personnel, native special constables and tribal police, other regulatory and law enforcement agencies. Women are able to be recruited for the force since 1974 and go through the same training as male recruits. When graduated, women get assigned duties on the same basis as the men. 

SEXISM, RELIGIOUS ACCOMMODATION AND EQUALITY

The process to change the way the the RCMP was when it has first began which was an all white man organization had began in 1975 after the graduation of the first troop of officers consisting of all women. In 1988 the commissioner suggested to  remove  the force’s ban on turbans and beards which sparked controversy all around Canada. Prime minister Brian Mulroney announced that there will be multiple changes to the RCMP uniform in 1990. These changes included trousers for the women officers, and freedom to wear beards and turbans for Sikhs. An ex-officer named Janet Merlo had written a book telling about the sexual harassment that had happened during her time in the RCMP. The book had also given other female officers the courage to speak out about how they had also either experienced unwanted touching, harassment, threats and even rape. The worst part of all this is that the women who complained had claimed that they were punished for speaking out. In 2013 the commissioner announced a plan to end the sexual harassment. The number of female recruits had been increased so that half of the cadets were women at the Regina training camp. 21% of RCMP officers in 2014 were women. The RCMP has set a goal to increase the percent from 21 to 30 by 2025. 

MAHER ARAR

The special emergency response team was a special unit within the force that mainly focused on anti-terrorism operations, including overseas. The RCMP had given up responsibility for the unit in the early 1990s. Foreign anti-terrorism was transferred to the department of national defence and the RCMP focused on domestic terrorist criminal activity. A Canadian citizen named Maher Arar was an Islamic extremist who was thought to have links to the Al Qaeda terrorist group. He was arrested and sent back to Syria where he was in-prisoned and toured for 10 months. He insisted he was innocent and eventually sent back home to his family in 2003. Arar was cleared of any involvement and blamed the RCMP for sharing wrong information about Canadians with authorities in another country. Arar was given a public apology from prime minister Stephan Harper and $10.5 million in compensation from Ottawa. 

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