This year marks the 30th anniversary of the RCMP's participation in peace and stabilization operations.
Canada has deployed police officers to peace missions around the world since 1989. Almost 4,000 Canadian police officers have been to over 33 countries, including Sudan, Kosovo, West Bank, Haiti and Afghanistan. They help rebuild or strengthen police services in countries experiencing conflict or upheaval. Through police participation in these missions, Canada commits to building a more secure world.
Serving on a mission is a unique opportunity for police officers to contribute to public safety in unstable countries. It also allows them to improve their leadership, and problem-solving and intercultural skills. This benefits their police services and the communities they serve at home.
How it works
Requests for Canadian police come from organizations such as the United Nations or from specific countries. The decision to deploy Canadian police is made via the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA), a partnership between Global Affairs Canada, Public Safety Canada and the RCMP. The goal of the CPA is to support the Government of Canada's commitments to build a more secure world through Canadian police participation in international peacekeeping and peace support operations, which are critical to longer-term security system reform and conflict-prevention efforts.
The RCMP manages the deployment of Canadian police, including:
- planning and evaluating missions
- selecting and training personnel
- providing support throughout the deployment
Canadian police personnel deployed abroad come from a wide range of police services, not only the RCMP. These police officers have many roles depending on the mission, including:
- training, mentoring and monitoring
- supporting free and fair elections
- investigating human rights violations
- responding to humanitarian crises
Canadian police can also work on specialized teams that focus on areas of:
- community policing
- management development
- serious and organized crime
First five police officers in Mali
It has been six months since Canada deployed its first two police officers to Mali. Since then, three more have arrived. Many more are on their way to help support the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the European Union capacity-building mission, EUCAP Sahel Mali.
Canadian police joined police officers from other countries already on the ground engaged in security sector reform. They have been providing expertise in areas such as:
- serious and organized crime
- community policing
- sexual and gender-based violence
Canadian police are there to support the multinational efforts to build the capabilities of the Malian police to maintain law and help protect civilians.
Corporal Kelly Willis in Bamako
Corporal Kelly Willis (RCMP) works with Projects and Planning under the Development pillar of MINUSMA. Mali is her first international mission. She has found the work interesting and enjoys working with such a diverse range of people.
"Women, in particular, and their children are the most affected in times of conflict," Kelly explains.
"By deploying female police officers, we can bridge the gap and provide the services that the local female population requires."
Corporal Guy LaCroix in Mopti
Corporal Guy LaCroix (RCMP) arrived with Cpl Willis to MINUSMA. They were the first two Canadian police deployed to Mali. Cpl LaCroix started off mentoring investigators to help develop skills.
"I am like a field coach for drug enforcement investigators," he explains.
He is now working on community policing in the town of Mopti, conducting regular patrols in support of the protection of civilians.
Sergeant Stevens Hamelin in Bamako
Sergeant Stevens Hamelin (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal) deployed to the EUCAP Sahel Mali mission. He helps to provide capacity building and training to police within the Malian and G5 Sahel civilian security forces.
Currently the only Canadian police officer in EUCAP Sahel Mali, Sgt Hamelin has been busy running a variety of human resources courses and aiding in building a sustainable program by training other police trainers.
Superintendent Kelly Bradshaw in Bamako
Superintendent Kelly Bradshaw (RCMP) is with the Integrated Strategic Planning Unit for MINUSMA. She is also the Canadian Contingent Commander and in charge of all Canadian police officers in Mali.
"Our UN colleagues and the Malians appreciate that we come from Canada and that we are bilingual. We work in French within the mission, but most of the correspondence and reporting to New York is in English," says Supt. Bradshaw.
"Many colleagues have commented on how they like the Canadian approach to work and how easy we are to get along with. We always apply a high degree of professionalism, as well as safety and security standards to our work."
Corporal Kim Deniger (RCMP) is the most recent addition of the first five police deployed to Mali. But that has not held her back. She is deployed to Mopti with Cpl LaCroix as part of the community-policing program to build trust, respect and partnerships between the Malian Security Forces and the communities they serve.
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