Canadian national police force, known for their uniform of red jacket and broad-brimmed hat. Founded as the North West Mounted Police in 1873, it was renamed in 1920 with the extension of its territory. It is the sole police force operating in the Northwest and Yukon territories. It is administered by the solicitor general of Canada, and its headquarters are in Ottawa, Ontario. The Mounties' Security Service, established in 1950, was disbanded in 1981 and replaced by the independent Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
Under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act 1959, the force is specially empowered to deal with smuggling offences by land, sea, and air; it enforces the provisions of the Excise Act; and is responsible for the suppression of the traffic in narcotics. By separate arrangement with each of the provinces, except Ontario and Québec, it enforces provincial laws and the criminal code in rural areas, although it may perform its duties in any part of the nation.
Operating from more than 700 stations, its total strength is over 15,000, including civilian clerks and reserves, and its maritime and air services.
History The North West Mounted Police corps was founded in Ottawa in 1873 to restore law and order in Alberta and southern Saskatchewan after the Cypress Hills Massacre, scene of a violent confrontation between white wolf-hunters and Native Canadian Assinboine peoples, possibly fuelled by whisky supplied by US traders; the area was known as ‘Whoop-up Country’. The force gained further respect in 1876 when, just after the Sioux victory at the battle of Little Bighorn, Montana, USA, Inspector James Morrow Walsh met with Chief Sitting Bull in his Canadian encampment to establish the presence of the law.
The service was renamed in 1920, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was made responsible for enforcing federal law throughout the whole of Canada. In 1950 the force absorbed the Newfoundland Rangers and the British Columbia Provincial Police.
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Artist: Canadian Photographer (19th Century) Location: Private Collection Credit: Captain Fred Young and Corporal G.S. Moffat at Fort Walsh, c.1890