RCMP Historical Facts
Conception: Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister and Minister of Justice.
Inspiration: the Royal Irish Constabulary and the "mounted rifle" units of the US Army in the American West.
Objective: to bring law and order to the North-West Territories, present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Legal Authority: Act of Parliament, May 23, 1873 (36 Vic., chap. 35) and Order in Council 1134, August 30, 1873.
Organization: appointments and recruitment for the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) commenced September 25, 1873.
Deployment: the "March West", 18 officers and 257 men with horses and equipment, from Dufferin, Manitoba to vicinities of Forts Macleod and Edmonton between July 8 and December 1874.
EARLY ROLE 1874-1905
Establishing friendly relations with Native peoples, including: containment of "whisky traders"; peacekeeping; supervision of treaties between Indian tribes and the federal government.
Easing hardships, such as destitution, disease and prairie fires, experienced by immigrants and settlers.
EXPANSION AND REORGANIZATION, 1895-1920
Mounted Police duties extended to Yukon in 1895 and Arctic Coast in 1903.
Prefix "Royal" conferred on NWMP by King Edward VII in 1904.
RNWMP contracted to police new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905.
Mounted Police service extended to northern Manitoba, 1912.
First World War: surveillance of enemy aliens; border patrols; enforcement of national security regulations.
Provincial contracts terminated in 1917, RNWMP responsible for federal law enforcement only in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In 1918, Force's responsibility for federal law enforcement and national security extended to 4 western provinces.
In 1920 federal police forces are re-organized; Mounted Police absorb the Dominion Police to become RCMP; responsibility for federal law enforcement extended nationwide.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE RCMP, 1920-1994
Return to provincial policing, 1928, under contract to Saskatchewan government.
Detachments established in high Arctic to protect Canadian sovereignty, 1920s.
Provincial police duties assumed by RCMP in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, 1932.
Preventive Service, National Revenue, absorbed in 1932, thus creating RCMP Marine Section.
Development of national police services in 1930s: Single Fingerprint section; Crime Index; Modus Operandi; Firearms Registration; Photo Section; forensic laboratory (Regina). Transportation and communication improvements: cars, trucks, motorcycles, ships, aircraft, telephones, radio.
Protection of national security during Second World War, 1939-1945.
Expansion of RCMP security operations: Special Branch, 1950; Directorate of Security and Intelligence, 1962; Security Service, 1970.
RCMP assumes provincial policing in Newfoundland and British Columbia, 1950.
Establishment of the Canadian Police Information Centre, 1972.
Growth of duties in the 1970s: airport policing; VIP security; drug enforcement; economic crime.
First women recruited as uniformed regular members in 1974.
Duties of the RCMP Security Service are transferred to a separate agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in 1984.
First women appointed as commissioned officers of the Force, 1992.
International police activities, 1990s: Namibia, Yugoslavia.
Northwest Rebellion, 1885: Duck Lake, Fort Pitt, Cut Knife Hill, pursuit of Big Bear.
South African War, 1899-1902: members served in two mounted rifle units, 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and Lord Srathcona's Horse.
First World War, 1914-1918: formed cavalry squadrons for overseas service, "A" Squadron (Europe), "B" Squadron (Siberia).
Second World War, 1939-1945: RCMP Marine and Air Section personnel transferred to the navy and air force, 1939; military police duties overseas, No. 1 Provost Company.
Musical Ride, 1880s-present. (Musical Ride History)
RCMP Band, 1938-1993.
Publication of the RCMP Quarterly since 1933 (bilingual since 1974) and the Gazette since 1937 (bilingual since 1969).
Establishment of the Historical Branch, 1968.
Opening of the Centennial Museum, Regina, 1973.
© RCMP/GRC 1999