The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is one of the most emblematic and iconic symbols of Canada. They are known for their bright red uniforms and the horses they ride, and are affectionately called The Mounties. They work as the national police force, providing law enforcement in all three territories and eight of the ten provinces (although they are present throughout the entire country, they do not provide municipal policing services in Ontario nor Quebec).
The RCMP is the maximum Law Enforcing agency in Canada and, therefore, are in charge of enforcing federal law throughout the entire country. In Ontario and Quebec, they usually work closely with the provincial police offices (the Ontario Provincial Police and the Sûreté du Québec). Other provinces also have their own municipal Police Forces working in tandem with the RCMP. The operations they undertake include enforcing federal law regarding organized crime, drug trafficking, border protection, and anti-terrorism and domestic security affairs.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officers are required to complete.
- Enforcing the law:
- Arresting and detaining criminals;
- responding to emergencies, confrontations, and protests;
- conducting patrols on motorized vehicles, bicycles, or on horseback; and
- enforcing traffic laws and fining offenders.
- Running criminal investigations:
- Collecting evidence from crime scenes;
- interviewing suspects, witnesses, and other people involved;
- analyzing crime scenes and accidents;
- providing testimony in a court of law when necessary; and
- documenting and filing reports.
- Ensuring the safety of civilians:
- Responding to emergencies in a timely manner;
- providing assistance to victims; and
- assessing and responding to national emergencies, evacuating civilians if required.
- Maintaining community safety awareness:
- Using a wide range of lethal and non-lethal weapons (e.g. handguns, shotguns, batons, and pepper spray).
- Investigating federal crimes (e.g. drug trafficking, terrorist activity, grand-scale financial fraud, and other matters of national security):
- Combating drug trafficking;
- preventing and responding to terrorist attacks; and
- investigating grand-scale financial frauds.
- Driving several motorized vehicles:
- Pursuing criminals when necessary.
- Maintaining order during public events:
- Watching over public meetings, manifestations, protests, and strikes; and
- assessing and handling potentially volatile situations.
- Patrolling the city on foot, car, motorcycles, bicycles, and on horseback.
- Helping citizens when necessary.
- Deterring crime by making themselves visible.
- Looking out for suspicious activity.
- Preventing threats to national security by collecting intelligence on possible terrorist attacks or other breaches of national sovereignty.
- Writing reports and doing paperwork.
- Enforcing the law and maintaining civil order.
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- Excellent communication skills:
- Being able to interview and interrogate criminals and victims so as to retrieve as much information as possible;
- writing reports; and
- having enough tact to deal with sensitive situations and emotionally disturbed people.
- Outstanding problem-solving skills:
- Being able to promptly and accurately assess situations;
- staying calm and focused in chaotic and potentially violent situations; and
- acting according to protocol.
- Excellent physical condition:
- Possessing great overall health;
- being in good shape;
- possessing acute senses of hearing and vision; and
- having high levels of stamina.
- Exceptional weapon skills:
- Being proficient in the use of non-lethal and lethal weapons.
- Highly analytical:
- Possessing strong observational skills, being able to assess different situations and to identify possible threats.
- Excellent driving skills:
- Driving different types of vehicles;
- riding horseback when necessary; and
- having an understanding of basic mechanics.
- Good computer skills:
- Using computer programs to analyze and document evidence; and
- writing extensive reports of investigations.
- Excellent leadership and decision-making skills:
- Being capable of commanding a task force of officers;
- assessing different situations; and
- deciding on the best course of action in stressful situations.
- Outstanding levels of integrity, morality, honesty, and responsibility.
- Handling sensitive or confidential information.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is always looking for new recruits to bring all sorts of skills and knowledge to their force, reflecting and upholding the Canadian ideals of diversity and multiculturalism. There are, however, certain conditions that need to be met in order to join the force. All applicants must be at least 19 years of age and be Canadian citizens or have had permanent resident status in Canada for at least 10 consecutive years. All applicants are subject to physical and psychological evaluations prior to entering the force. The results of these tests can be used to exclude or prevent applicants from joining.
Candidates are required to have completed secondary school education. Professionals with at least 2 years of college or university education will have a better chance of being recruited. Some degrees that will be an asset to aspirants are in Law Enforcement, Police Science, Social Science, and Criminology.
Like with most police forces in the country, applicants wishing to enter the RCMP must have a clean criminal record, or at least one with no major offences (e.g. homicide, manslaughter, sexual assault, participation with organized crime or drug trafficking, arson, or robbery). Minor offences can be overlooked or considered not relevant.
Once accepted, all applicants must go through special training. They are assigned to a troop of 32 Cadets and sent to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy in Depot, located in the city of Regina in Saskatchewan. Training at Depot is 26 weeks long and covers all the necessary skills and knowledge RCMP Officers will require. During this period, Cadets are also required to participate in evening and weekend training activities.
The RCMP works 24 hours a day to maintain and ensure peace and safety throughout the country, therefore, all RCMP Officers are expected to serve nights, weekends, and national holidays whenever necessary. They are also required to relocate to any part of Canada to serve at their post, special considerations can be taken, but it depends mainly on the Force’s needs.