RCMP: Background & Organization



The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are a national (or federal) police force, similar to the US FBI. They are unique in that they provide policing for most of Canada, including provinces (with the exception of Ontario & Quebec) & municipalities, while also enforcing federal laws in all jurisdictions. These include drug trafficking, organized crime, counterfeiting, counterterrorism, domestic security, VIP security (politicians, heads of state), as well as international missions.

The RCMP is the largest police force in Canada, with approximately 18,000 officers and a civilian staff of 9,000. They maintain a small fleet of aircraft (planes & helicopters), as well as boats for marine patrols. Because the RCMP enforces federal laws, it has offices in all major cities as well as international airports. It also has detachments on some Native reserves.

In its international missions, the RCMP assists in colonial invasions & occupations by providing training & resources to local police forces. The RCMP have been training the Haitian National Police since 1994, despite ongoing human rights violations. Likewise, Afghan police trained by the RCMP have been accused of similar abuses, including the rape of children. The RCMP also has liason officers stationed in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Colombia, Brazil, and others.



  • · Commissioner 1
  • · Deputy Commissioner 8
  • · Assistant Commissioner 26
  • · Chief Superintendent 56
  • · Superintendent 186
  • · Inspector 433
  • · Corps Sergeant Major 1
  • · Sergeants Major 6
  • · Staff Sergeants Major 16
  • · Staff Sergeants 928
  • · Sergeants 2,090
  • · Corporals 3,570
  • · Constables 11,594
  • · Special Constables 74
  • · Civilian Members 3,607
  • · Public Servants 6,102

Total 28,700

source: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (The on-strength establishment of the RCMP as of September 1, 2009)


The commanding officer of the RCMP is a Commissioner. Under the Commissioner are Deputy Commissioners, each in charge of:

  • · Federal Services and Central Region (Ottawa)
  • · Operations and Integration
  • · National Police Services
  • · Corporate Management and Comptrollership
  • · Atlantic Region (Halifax)
  • · North West Region (Regina)
  • · Pacific Region (Vancouver)


The RCMP is organized into four Regions under the direction of deputy commissioners: Pacific, Northwestern, Central and Atlantic. The regions are subdivided into divisions that correspond with a province (for example, E Division is BC). The province of Ontario is divided into two divisions: A Division (Ottawa) and O Division (rest of the province). There is one additional division– Depot Division, which is the RCMP Academy at Regina, Saskatchewan, and the Police Dog Service Training Centre at Bowden, Alberta. The RCMP headquarters are located in Ottawa, Ontario.

  • · A Division – National Capital Region (Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec)
  • · B Division – Newfoundland and Labrador
  • · C Division – Quebec
  • · D Division – Manitoba
  • · E Division – British Columbia
  • · F Division – Saskatchewan
  • · G Division – Northwest Territories
  • · H Division – Nova Scotia
  • · J Division – New Brunswick
  • · K Division – Alberta
  • · L Division – Prince Edward Island
  • · M Division – Yukon
  • · O Division – Ontario
  • · V Division – Nunavut
  • · Depot Division at Regina, Sask. and Police Dog Service Training Centre at Innisfail, Alberta.

E Division/Pacific Region

  • British Columbia and the Yukon comprise the Pacific Region.
  • BC is E Division, with its headquarters at 657 W. 37th Ave., Vancouver.
  • E Division is the largest RCMP division, with approximately 6,000 officers. There are an additional 1,200 Auxiliary Constables (unarmed volunteers), and a civilian staff of 1,700.
  • The RCMP maintains 127 detachments throughout the province, policing all but 12 municipalities.

RCMP Air Services

The RCMP have a fleet of some 41 aircraft across Canada, including approximately 11 helicopters (new aircraft are bought while others are retired on an ongoing basis). One-third of all RCMP aircraft are based in ‘E’ division (British Columbia).

National Security Investigation Section NSIS

National Security Investigation Sections (NSIS) were established in the 1980s as part of the RCMP’s efforts to maintain some level of intelligence capacity after their Security Service was disbanded & CSIS established. The title NSIS (pronounced ‘nee-sis’) is seen by some as a jab against CSIS. The purpose & methods of NSIS appear to replicate those of the disgraced RCMP-SS (political repression).

NSISections are attached to the National Security Bureau, which is part of the RCMP’s Criminal Intelligence Directorate (CID). The CID is based at the Ottawa headquarters and has a staff of 60. Across the country there are 230 NSIS personnel (for a total of 290, in 2008). It is the responsibility of the Assistant Commissioner of the CID to approve all investigations into well as Native, although they rarely say so in public statements).

There are 14 NSIS offices across the country, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Prior to 2001, it was reported that Vancouver NSIS employed 12-18 members. There are project teams (Team 1, Team 2, etc.) that have different investigative targets (i.e., Islamic, Native, environmentalists, etc.).

NSIS uses physical & technical surveillance as well as informants and infiltrators. There are specialized RCMP surveillance teams (Special ‘O’) and covert entry teams (Special ‘I’) that NSIS can use during investigations. They would also have the capacity to run undercover operations.

NSIS were actively involved in countering the APEC protests in Vancouver, 1997, and the Summit of the Americas protests in Quebec City, 2001. During these campaigns, NSIS conducted widespread surveillance and harassment against a large & diverse number of groups & individuals.

Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams INSET

INSETs were established in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks against the US, along with new anti-terrorist laws and a general restructuring of national security by Canada. At this time, four NSIS offices (out of 14) were converted to INSETs: Metro Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

INSET is comprised of RCMP along with local municipal & provincial police forces, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and other security & intelligence agencies. Its primary purpose is to coordinate the efforts of these groups, share intelligence, and carry out operations (i.e., ‘integrated’). Each INSET has a CSIS agent attached. INSET offices report to the Criminal Operations officer at their respective divisions, who arranges support (i.e., surveillance).

The first actions undertaken by INSET were a 2002 raid on an animal liberation activist, and then raids (with RCMP Emergency Response Teams) on members of the West Coast Warriors Society that same year (both on southern Vancouver Island in BC). In 2005, INSET was also involved in the arrest of two members of the WCWS in Vancouver during a legal purchase of firearms.

In January 2009, the Vancouver Police Department’s Counter-Terrorism Unit was merged with INSET to create Vancouver-INSET, a city-specific unit. There is also a Victoria-INSET that covers Vancouver Island.

INSET liasons with US national security agencies and also conducts joint operations with the FBI.

Integrated Border Enforcement Teams IBETs

IBETs are another RCMP-led agency that focuses on border security, primarily the USCanada border (another demand of the US). The IBETs are part of the national security apparattus but are also tasked with criminal matters. They are based in 25 locations along the US-Canada border.

IBETs are comprised of RCMP-INSET members, CSBA agents, as well as representatives from Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Revenue Agency, as well as others. The IBETs liason with US Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE), US Customs & Border Protection, US Coast Guard, as well as US state & local police.

BC Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (E-INSET)

(From RCMP website, 2009)

E-INSET consists of representatives of the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canadian Forces, Vancouver Police, South Coast BC Transportation Authority Police Service [Transit Police], Victoria Police and Saanich Police.

General Enforcement Unit (GEU) Investigates complaints from internal and external partners as well as requests from foreign agencies. Generally short term investigations assigned to individual team members.

Protective Intelligence, Threat Assessment Unit (TA) Working in conjunction with the RCMP VIP [Very Important Person] unit, Municipal and Federal agencies, the team conducts regional assessments on potential threats to Internationally Protected Persons (IPP’s), VIP’s and at functions that might have international visitors. The unit is also responsible for the investigation of individuals who represent a threat or potential threat to IPP’s and VIP’s.

Anti-Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit (ATFIU) ATFIU’s role is to investigate the financial leads relating to terrorist financing and support. The unit supports other INSET investigations and conducts its own projects.

Project Teams The team conducts long term investigations of a complex nature using the principles of Major Case Management (MCM). [This includes Native, Islamic, environmentalist, anarchist, etc.]

INSET Vancouver The team, under the leadership of a Vancouver Police NCO IC [in charge] Sgt. is an amalgamation of members from the Vancouver Police Department Counter Terrorist Unit and the RCMP. INSET-Vancouver, an extension of the E Division INSET, General Enforcement Unit working from a municipal facility of the Vancouver Police Department.

INSET Victoria This team based in Victoria provides service to Vancouver Island and is an extension of the General Enforcement Unit. It consists of members from Victoria Police, Saanich Police and the RCMP.

Major Case Management Support Using E&R III as the primary tool, the MCM Support Unit provides the necessary support to projects for the effective management of the investigation up to and including court document preparation and disclosure.

Analyst Program Information vs. Intelligence. The Analyst’s role is the research, review and assessment of incoming information (multi-source) and creating intelligence (through an analytical process) that can be applied to the investigations. At the unit level this is normally Tactical Analysis (what is happening now or in the very near future) but may include Strategic (the big picture, long term). Some Analysts are assigned to one specific project and others may be multi-tasked through the Operations NCO.

Community Outreach Program Working in conjunction with all partner agencies, provides a method for effectively sharing information, providing education on current and pending issues (relating to national security and terrorism) affecting the communities we serve. This includes creating and maintaining Community Consultative Groups, providing training with law enforcement, government and non-governmental agencies that have a role or service that is or would be effected by terrorism.

Planning/Operational Support The Administration and Operational Support team provides all of the support services to the 100 staff of the E Div National Security Program. Duties include – Human Resources services, on going Quality Assurance Processes, Records Management, Exhibit Management, Finances, Pay and Compensation, Fleet Services, equipment procurement and upkeep, transcriptions, mail, secure faxes.


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