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A SAFER WORLD… A SAFER CANADA


July 9, 2014
By Shannon HIlton

Since the first mission to Namibia in 1989 more than 3,500 police officers have served on close to 60 peace operations in 30 countries.

These officer have played a wide range of roles within each mission, from training and mentoring police counterparts and providing humanitarian assistance to ensuring security for elections and investigating human rights violations. Canadian officers have assisted in rebuilding and strengthening police services in countries that have experienced conflict or upheaval.

Today, there are 90 Canadian police officers serving on peace operations in Haiti and the West Bank.

This year marks an important milestone for our officers, 25 years of contributions to the development of international policing. Over these years Canadian police have voluntarily served in some of the world’s most challenging places, bringing a measure of peace to communities living in poverty, chaos and fear. In doing so, they have cemented a reputation for leadership, professionalism and humanitarianism in international peace operations.

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These overseas experiences help officers develop leadership and problem-solving skills and enhances their ability to effectively interact with different cultures back home.

The 25th anniversary is an opportunity to recognize the service and sacrifices of Canadian police who have served, as well as their families. It allows us to celebrate their contributions to international peace, in particular, and the partnerships that made those accomplishments possible, of which we are very proud.

Furthermore, while it is crucial to recognize the success and dedication of our officers, it is also necessary to remember that these missions can be extremely dangerous and put a great deal of stress on their families. It is important to thank them for their sacrifice and support to the security of Canada at an international level.

Ultimately, Canadian police participate in peace missions overseas because a safer world means a safer Canada. Unstable societies offer ample opportunity for crime to flourish. By helping police in other countries to better fight crime on their own soil, Canadian officers may help reduce the spread of crime to our communities.

“Participating in a UN mission was a highlight of both my personal and professional career,” says RCMP Sgt. Mike Toohey. “It was an honour to build upon a Canadian legacy forged by those who sacrifice time away from family and friends, which has become a part of Canadian history.” Toohey has served overseas in Haiti and spent many years in Nunavut.

To mark the anniversary the IPO has chosen National Peacekeeper’s Day as the main event for celebrations. There is a get together on August 9 and the national ceremony on August 10. The colourful ceremony will be held at the National Peacekeeping Monument in Ottawa and will feature troops of military members, veterans and police officers on parade, music by the Band of the Ceremonial Guard and a C-17 fly past. This event is open to the public.

The RCMP’s International Policing Development (IPD) office looks forward to celebrating this anniversary.

{How it works}

Foreign requests for Canadian police participation in international peace operations come from organizations such as the United Nations or specific countries.

The decision to deploy is made within the framework of the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA), a partnership between the foreign affairs and trade and development departments, Public Safety Canada and the RCMP.

Renewed in 2011, the CPA is designed to help Canada respond to foreign requests for police participation in international missions without affecting policing at home.

The RCMP manages the deployment, including planning and evaluating missions, selecting and training personnel from across the country and providing support throughout deployment.

Canadian officers who serve abroad come from municipal, provincial and regional police forces and the RCMP and represent a variety of backgrounds.

They play a wide range of roles within each mission.

Serving on a mission is a unique opportunity for police officers to contribute to public safety in unstable countries. Mission experience also enables officers to improve their leadership, problem-solving and intercultural skills, which ultimately benefits participating police services and the communities they serve.

BIO

Shannon Hilton is an RCMP member. Contact: shannon.hilton@rcmp-grc.gc.ca


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