Law enforcement in Canada

Law enforcement in Canada

In Canada, there are three levels of police forces: municipal, provincial, and federal. Constitutionally, law enforcement is a provincial responsibility, although most urban areas have been given the authority by the provinces to maintain their own police force. All but three provinces in turn contract out their provincial law enforcement responsibilities to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the federal police force.

Newfoundland is one of the provinces with its own provincial police force but that force is only responsible for the larger urban areas. The province has contracted the RCMP to patrol the rest of the province. The RCMP, colloquially known as Mounties, is the only police force to service all three levels. Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland can maintain their own provincial police forces: The Ontario Provincial Police, Sûreté du Québec (Quebec Provincial Police) and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Smaller Canadian municipalities often contract police service from the provincial policing authority, while larger ones maintain their own force.

There are also a few private police forces, with the same powers as other governmental forces. The Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways both have their own police forces. Their duties are to prevent crimes against the railways, protection of transiting goods, materials and public rail transit being moved on their rail systems. They work to protect the public, rail personnel, and property that is owned or administered by the railways.


cite web |url= |title=Police officers, by province and territory |publisher=Statistics Canada|accessdate=2008-03-26] legend|#d5e5ff|< 176legend|#0055d4|> 400As of May 2007, Canada had 64,134 police officers, or 195 per 100,000 people. Canadian police strength reached a peak in 1975, when there were 206 officers per 100,000 people. Although the current number reflects a significant rise in the total police strength in the country (the highest in 12 years after steady declines in the 1980s and 1990s), Canada still lags behind the United States (230 per 100,000), Australia (222), and England and Wales (262). Provincially, Saskatchewan had the highest number at 207 officers per 100,000 and the province has also held the national record for the highest crime rate since 1997. The lowest numbers were in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta. [ [ Police personnel and expenditures] ]


The Chief of Police is the title of the head of most Canadian police forces except for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Commissioner), Ontario Provincial Police (Commissioner), Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (Superintendent), Vancouver Police Department (Chief Constable), and the West Vancouver Police Department (Chief Constable):-
* Chief of Police
* Deputy Chief of Police
* Chief Superintendent
* Staff Superintendent
* Superintendent
* Staff Inspector
* Inspector
* Sergeant, Staff-Sergeant and Detective-Sergeant
* Detective Constable
* Police Constable (PC)

In the Province of Ontario, one can tell what jurisdiction a police force represents by the trouser stripe and peak band around the cap as part of the uniform. Municipal forces are red, provincial are blue, while the RCMP (federal) are yellow.NOTE: The previous statement is incorrect. In the Toronto Police Services, the trouser stripe of their uniform will often indicate rank or division, constable are (lowest rank) red, senior officers are yellow, and document services are blue.


In the 1990s, the majority of began wearing bulletproof vests and municipal police agencies started carrying Glock semi-automatic handguns in the .40 S&W calibre cartridge. In terms of numbers of officers, and due to its use by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the most widely used weapon is the Smith & Wesson 5946 with hollow-point 9 mm caliber ammunition. These firearms replaced the aging .38 Special revolver. A significant number of agencies have began to use the Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun in the .40 S&W calibre. A Police cruiser might carry a Carbine rifle; or a shotgun capable of firing a variety of shotgun shells including the less-lethal flexible baton round and rubber bullets. Other less-lethal weapons carried would include the Taser, pepper spray and an expandable baton. In addition, they would have on their person: handcuffs, flashlight, portable radio, notebook, and a pair of dispoable gloves and Kevlar gloves.


ee also

* List of law enforcement agencies in Canada

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