Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Peacekeeping operations

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The changing face of police peacekeeping

Canadian police personnel have deployed on peacekeeping and stabilization operations since 1989. What started off initially with mass deployments of hundreds of police officers has now morphed into specialized and strategically chosen deployments. Why? To create a more impactful and sustained effect.

Hollie in Iraq

Hollie demonstrates proper techniques for finger print collection during a Forensics course

Sergeant Hollie Maffenbeier deployed to Iraq in July 2019. Working alongside police instructors from all over the world, Hollie delivered training in specific areas such as community policing, crime scene management and leadership, along with assisting in the delivery of other training as needed.

"I was excited to be able to organize and deliver a forensic course. And to top it off, a group of women Iraqi officers participated in the forensic course," Hollie explained. "This was only the second time that women Iraqi officers participated in a training course with us."

An avid champion for women police officers, Hollie became the Team Lead at Camp Dublin three months into her deployment.

Hollie breaks down a mock scene during the Crime Scene Management course she taught

"I learned so much about myself, becoming the Team Lead for the Canadian police deployment at Camp Dublin. I was the only woman Team Lead on base," said Hollie. "I liaised with all the partners and worked with the team. It's amazing the resources you have within yourself that you don't even realize."

That leadership within Hollie came into play with the heightened security risk after the assassination of an Iranian Major General in 2020. This event eventually led to the repatriation of all Canadian police officers back to Canada due to the increased threat level. Hollie was one of the last to leave, working with the Mission Coordinator in Ottawa to ensure that all Canadian police personnel stationed at Camp Dublin were repatriated and that all priority Canadian resources were returned.

Guylaine in Rwanda

Part of the two-week training course includes a driving portion, a valuable component for those participants who do not have the exposure to practice this skill

Sergeant Guylaine Brassard travelled to Rwanda for two weeks in January 2024. She was part of a team that was tasked to train women police officers for success in participating on various United Nations missions. This was a unique experience, where a group of pre-qualified instructors deployed on a short-term basis to deliver training to other Police Contributing Countries to United Nations missions.

"By setting these women up for success, we're providing them an opportunity to make a difference on their own deployment," explained Guylaine. "Women need to be involved; they need to have equal and full participation in conflict resolution, peace-building and peacekeeping."

When not supporting these shorter types of missions, Guylaine works in international policing training, helping Canadian police personnel prepare for their own deployments.

This training was done in partnership with the Norwegian police, an opportunity to build and maintain strong relationships with other law enforcement agencies around the world

Karla in London

Corporal Karla Kincade is currently deployed to the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre (IACCC), hosted within the National Crime Agency in London, United Kingdom. The International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre brings together senior investigators from eight member countries to support grand corruption and asset recovery cases around the world.

Many of the countries who request assistance are fragile democracies and conflict-affected states. Karla deploys to these countries to deliver investigational support and provide capacity building in support of grand corruption cases. Karla is also the Chair of an International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre initiative - Women Against Transnational Corruption Hub, or WATCH.

"WATCH was started because we noticed that women investigators were not advancing in their organizations even though they did excellent work. Furthermore, the number of women in our capacity building programs was low. I believe that WATCH will help change that," said Karla. "By empowering women within the anti-corruption agencies we support, we strengthen those agencies and help to tip the balance of power from corrupt politicians to the law enforcement agencies that are investigating them."

This is Karla's first deployment with International Police Peacekeeping and she is excited to have the unique opportunity to represent Canada on the international stage within the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre

Karla hopes to deliver financial crime courses for women in the near future and she is already sponsoring women to participate in developmental and mentorship opportunities through the WATCH program.

Looking ahead

The world is an ever-changing place. It is important to keep pace, adapt and overcome in order to help nations torn by conflict create conditions for lasting peace.

"As global conflicts continue to change, peacekeeping operations continue to adapt to the unique needs and circumstances of each mission. And we will be there leading the change," reiterated Superintendent Rabih Abdallah, Director of International Peace Operations, RCMP.

A year of commemorations and celebrations!

2023 marks many important milestones for the RCMP. We are celebrating our 150th anniversary. We are recognizing the INTERPOL Centennial. And we are honouring our past and current deployed police officers and civilian experts with two recognitions:

  1. the 75th anniversary of the first United Nations peacekeeping operation
  2. the 35th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize for United Nations peacekeepers.

Then and now

The 100-member contingent that travelled to Namibia in 1989

Like our 150th anniversary, we reflect on our storied past in peacekeeping. Since 1989, more than 4,000 Canadian police officers have participated in more than 60 peace operations abroad.

The first deployment to a peacekeeping operation for the RCMP was to Namibia. It was part of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group. A 100-member RCMP contingent deployed to monitor the South West African Police and to attend to polling stations during the first democratic elections in Namibia.

Today, our deployment numbers are lower, but our impact is just as meaningful. By deploying specialized police teams or in specific roles, such as Gender Advisors or Human Rights Monitors, we can make a targeted difference in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Canada deploys police officers and civilian experts to peace and stabilization missions through the Canadian Police Arrangement, a partnership between the RCMP, Public Safety Canada and Global Affairs Canada.

The RCMP also partners with 32 Provincial, Regional, Municipal and Indigenous police agencies to deploy personnel under the Canadian Police Arrangement.

The goal of the Canadian Police Arrangement is to support the Government of Canada's commitments to build a more secure world through Canadian participation in international peacekeeping and peace support operations, which are critical to longer-term security system reform and conflict-prevention efforts.

The history behind the day

An RCMP member salutes during the National Peacekeepers' Day parade in Ottawa, Ontario

Did you know? Every year on August 9, Canada marks National Peacekeepers' Day to honour and remember the significant service and sacrifices of all Canadian peacekeepers, including police efforts.

Officially established in 2008, the date was chosen to commemorate the events of August 9, 1974. Nine Canadian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt and Israel lost their lives when their plane was shot down over Syria.

Although police officers were not involved in that incident, we, too, have experienced loss during peacekeeping missions. In the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the RCMP lost two members – Chief Superintendent Douglas Coates and Sergeant Mark Gallagher. In their effort to better the lives of others, Doug and Mark ultimately gave their lives in the service of peace.

Ceremonies are held across Canada, including a national ceremony at the Peacekeeping monument in Ottawa, on the Sunday closest to August 9. This commemorative year, the Ottawa ceremony will take place on August 13, open to all who would like to pay respect.

Dedication to a cause

A Canadian police officer visits a school in the Timbuktu region of Mali to deliver school supplies. The supplies were donated by students and staff at Peacock Primary School in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and Unity Christian School in Chilliwack, British Columbia

Canadian police are deployed to some of the world's most challenging places in the service of peace. They make significant sacrifices to serve overseas. They face considerable hardships, all while spending a year apart from their loved ones.

It's not surprising that in 1988 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to peacekeepers. Their efforts have made important contributions towards reducing tensions where a cease-fire has been negotiated but a peace treaty has yet to be established.

National Peacekeepers' Day affords Canadians the opportunity to express their pride not only in members of the Canadian Armed Forces, but also in members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, partner police agencies, and members of the diplomatic corps and civilians who have supported and continue to support international and domestic peace and stabilization operations.

Preparing for peace operations

A Zambian woman officer writes a test during preparatory training for United Nations missions. This training program aims to increase the deployment of qualified women police officers to United Nations operations

I'm proud that our work is directly supporting the involvement of uniformed women in peace operations around the world.

Sergeant Tai Chang, RCMP

Sergeant Tai Chang was the team lead of a group of five Canadian police officers deployed to Zambia. They were tasked to train women police officers for success in deploying to United Nations missions.

"This training helped Zambian women police officers prepare for the upcoming Assessment for Mission Service," he explained. "That is a required test for all police officers wishing to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping mission."

Increasing the participation of women in the full spectrum of United Nations policing activities is critical to operational effectiveness and efficiency. In some countries, driving or carrying a firearm is not part of their regular duties, which poses significant challenges to their deployment.

Constable Elise Petitjean, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, teaches on the two-week preparatory training that will prepare Zambia officers for the United Nations Assessment for Mission Service test

This preparatory training enhances the effectiveness of United Nations peace operations by:

  • increasing the deployment of qualified women police officers
  • developing a greater understanding of key factors that positively contribute to the deployment of women police officers, and
  • enhancing the utilization of women police officers in United Nations peace operations

"We've seen the progress firsthand. We conducted the language portion of the Assessment for Mission Service on the first day of the training to assess the class," Sergeant Chang explained. "Had the Assessment for Mission Service occurred without our assistance, the pass rate would have been approximately 48% for the language portion. By the end of the first week of training, we saw the pass rate for language assessment increase to 90%!"

The ratio of instructors to candidates is 1:10 for each training session. Each course lasts two weeks. On average, 50 candidates attend each training session. The sessions take place in the host countries, and Canada sends five instructors per session to provide training.

Sergeant Caroline Duval, RCMP, gives advice to the Zambia officer on the driving component of the preparatory training. Canadian police provide expertise to train and mentor their counterparts around the world, including other Police Contributing Countries to United Nations missions

"I really feel that I can bring something concrete and beneficial to every woman that we're instructing," elaborated Sergeant Audrey-Anne Bilodeau of the Sûreté du Québec. "For example, with just one morning of providing tips and suggestions, every single Zambian participant passed the driving test within the allotted time and without knocking over any cones!"

The equipment and materials Canada purchased through the Elsie Initiative, combined with the training provided by the Canadian police officers, enabled the Zambian participants to acquire new skills that will undoubtedly help them during the Assessment for Mission Service and in their deployment in a peacekeeping mission.

Canadian expertise is highly valued, and these deployments are an opportunity to improve the capacity of other Police Contributing Countries to United Nations missions.

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