Abolish the RCCP

Posted June 18th, 2010 in Canada by MarkOttawa

That’s the Royal Canadian Contract Police.


The Air India inquiry effectively recommends it’s abolition:

VANCOUVER – The RCMP should stop providing police services to the provinces so the force can focus on national security, says a public inquiry report into the 1985 Air India bombings…

“Perhaps the time has arrived to re-assess the role of the RCMP in providing contractual policing services in many of the provinces,” wrote Air India public inquiry commissioner and former Supreme Court justice John Major.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is contracted to provide community policing services in all provinces and territories of Canada, except Ontario and Quebec.

The report says even if the RCMP’s mandate was limited to enforcing federal laws in a country as vast as Canada, it would be “ambitious.”

But when provincial and territorial responsibilities are factored in, the report says the RCMP’s mandate is too broad.

“This commission believes that, after nearly 80 years of contract policing arrangements, it would be appropriate for the government to give serious consideration to the advantages and disadvantages of the present policing structure in Canada,” it says.

“It might well be an opportune moment to put the emphasis on a national police force that is more focussed on federal matters and less occupied with provincial policing.”

The RCMP’s 20-year contracts for provincial and territorial policing expire in 2012…

Here’s what I wrote at Daimnation! in November 2007:

Some immodest proposals on federal policing

If today’s RCMP is not what it should be, what to do? I can think of no other developed country (and probably no others of any size) that has a national police force responsible for the following types of law enforcement (I confess I don’t know quite the jurisdiction of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary):

-municipal policing (Ontario and Quebec and many cities in other provinces excepted)

-rural policing (all provinces except Ontario and Quebec)

-All policing in the territories

-highway patrol (all provinces except Ontario and Quebec, and the RCMP also does this on federal roads in Ottawa)

-Organized crime (drugs etc.)

-National security (terrorism, espionage)

-Border policing

-White collar crime (sometimes, e.g. Karlheinz Schreiber).

I’m sure I missed a few things.

It seems to me that all provinces should provide their own municipal, rural, and highway policing, by the means of their own choice. There then should be separate federal law enforcement agencies to deal with, in cooperation with the forces in provinces and municipalities as required:

1) Serious organized crime and national security matters (there are many common techniques involved, and both rely greatly on intelligence)

2) Border, airport, and port policing (this function should be part of the Canada Border Services Agency–think Vancouver Airport; one service might have done better)

3) The territories

4) White collar crime (small and mainly civilian, that is to say lawyers)

5) VIP protection.

Mark C.

Damian adds: the RNC is responsible for law enforcement in St. John’s, Corner Brook, Mount Pearl, Conception Bay South and Labrador City. The RCMP handles the rest of the province.

Sensible as such a major reform might be, I can’t see it happening in this country where almost all big changes now seem beyond us. In the case of the RCMP the provinces would howl (contract policing saves them quite a bit of money), the Conservative base out west would howl along with them, and the Liberals would not want to go near anything as controversial with a ten foot pole (no Tasers, remember).

Pity.  By the way, many years ago a Turkish friend of mine living in Canada made the acute observation that Canada was the only country he could think of in which a police force was the greatest national symbol (see link in first para–at least in the RoC I would amend).


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