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
Canadian police building bridges to stability in Mali
A country like Mali, landlocked in West Africa, has some stark differences between any location you can find in Canada. And yet, the need for building relationships between the community and the police are the same, regardless of which country you are in.
Canadian police are engaged in community policing, as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). There are over ten Canadian police officers and many other police from around the world deployed to MINUSMA. Several Canadian police are deployed across Mali's regions, helping bring stability to the country.
RCMP Sgt. Martin Roy and Cst. Daniel Joly, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, are two Canadian police officers working in Mopti, a central region in Mali.
During patrols, you realize how much the instability is affecting the lives of the Malian population," explains Sgt. Roy. "
That's why it's important to help the local population and police officers. But change will take time."
MINUSMA is Sgt. Roy's first deployment on a peace operation. Having completed over four months of his deployment, Sgt. Roy believes that the Canadian flag goes a long way. "
Canada is well-known and has a good reputation with the Malians. It helps with my daily patrols."
Joly, a veteran of peacekeeping, is on his third overseas deployment. He says he recognizes there is still a long road ahead to improve the relationships between the communities and the local police. "
The villagers appreciate us meeting them and appreciate answering our questions. But they do not see any results yet," explains Cst. Joly.
Canadian police who manage these patrols assess the security situation, and train local police so they can better protect residents across the country.
Canadians are widely recognized by Malians and they do not hesitate to approach the Canadian police to introduce themselves.
Whenever I meet children, they are always happy to shake my hand and give me high fives," recalls Sgt. Roy. "
Most of them seem oblivious to all the problems their country is going through. Their smiles bring me joy."
I recognize that children are the future," explains Cst. Joly. "
So when I see them on my foot patrol, I make contact with them. I play games with them and try to make them feel at ease, despite not being able to express myself in their language."
Both Roy and Joly agree they are privileged to represent Canada in this mission. They believe they are making a small difference that could one day lead to a country that is rich with both peace and joy.
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