Improve RCMP uniform and equipment
In 2019, we surveyed frontline members to seek their opinions on how the uniform works for them and what changes they would like to see to make them more effective. We also examined many submissions to the RCMP Innovation Inbox, where one fifth of all employee suggestions are related to uniform and equipment.
Over the past two years, the RCMP used employee feedback from the survey and other means to improve the RCMP's uniform and equipment, with a focus on inclusion and innovation.
Why it matters
We need our RCMP uniform to function for all the people who wear it. We don't want anyone to arrive in our organization and encounter uniform or equipment that has clearly been designed with someone else in mind.
Our members have asked us to ensure pants, shirts and protective equipment fit properly, are more comfortable, and can be easily cared for to ensure a professional look and enhanced safety.
The uniform must also meet the needs of a diverse organization. This has meant updating grooming policies (like allowing beards), and enhancing the uniform to include a wider variety of items, like the dastaar, patka and hijab. It also means ensuring we have the personal protective equipment that safely integrates with these items.
RCMP members began wearing the new shirts as part of the Uniform Shirt Pilot on June 5, 2023. The trial includes 100 members from across several divisions. They will wear prototype uniform shirts while performing their regular duties over a period of six months. The purpose of the pilot is to evaluate if all aspects of the uniform shirts are professional, comfortable, perform well in a variety of settings over time, are inclusive of members' needs and respond to feedback from members.
The six-month period will allow ample time to wear, test and launder the six prototype options in a variety of conditions. During these six months, participants will wear one prototype shirt each month and submit their feedback on criteria such as fit, function and fabric. At the end of the trial phase, the collected data will be analyzed to inform decision-making on the modernization of the duty shirt.
Work also continues on the modernization of RCMP-issued faith-based headdresses. The dastaar and patka pilot has concluded, and a new fabric was chosen for both the RCMP-issued dastaar and the first ever RCMP-issued patka. A patka is a rectangular or triangular cloth tied around the head like a bandana or in a top-knot, and is typically used in informal settings or as an under-dastaar.
An updated ordering guide is being developed to reflect the new language, images, and materials selected for the dastaar and patka. The new patka will be introduced to the organization once the ordering guide has been finalized.
Another pilot which includes options to improve the RCMP-issued hijab is currently underway. Participants are testing new styles, materials, and sizes of two hijab prototypes. The pilot is anticipated to conclude in fall 2023.
Furthermore, options for an RCMP-issued kippah are being explored for use with both operational and ceremonial uniforms.
After delays caused by supply chain issues during the pandemic, newly designed shirts are now being manufactured for the Uniform Duty Shirt Pilot, set to begin in February 2023. Communication products are being developed for a variety of audiences including the Management Advisory Board, National Police Federation, and the public to ensure that there is awareness that some of our front line members may be in different uniform shirts for a period of time.
In response to feedback received through the RCMP Uniform and Kit Survey, the RCMP is working to update and expand RCMP-issued faith-based headdresses.
Employees are participating in pilot projects to test improvements to a number of items. Between May and July 2021, pilots tested the fabric quality, durability, comfort, fit, and colour fastness for both the dastaar (also known as the turban) and patka. From October to December 2022, new fabrics and styles will be tested for the RCMP-issued hijab.
The RCMP is also beginning to examine options for an RCMP-issued kippah, in consultation with employees.
Progress continues on updated duty belts, lightweight hard body armour and portable ballistic shields, which are all at various stages in the procurement process.
Procurement methods are now in place for lightweight batons and breaching tools.
The Uniform Duty Shirt Pilot Project is underway. Diverse members from across Canada have been selected to pilot the prototype shirts. Participants have been measured for fit and will receive the new shirts in the coming months. The results from the pilot will determine if the shirts require any changes.
Work is also underway to improve the duty belt. The RCMP's Action, Innovation and Modernization team is evaluating the belt options, which will be part of a user trial in fall 2022.
Improvements on other police and public safety intervention equipment is ongoing. In 2022-23 members will have access to new and/or improved equipment, including new light-weight hard body armour, portable ballistic shields, lightweight batons and breaching tools.
Work continues on the modernization of the service pistol and the conducted energy weapon, with planned rollout starting in 2023.
Over the past two years, we have:
- updated our uniform and dress manual to remove binary gender and outdated language, and modernized grooming guidance to better reflect modern Canadian society
- listened to employees who told us about the need for pants that fit well and are comfortable, and boots that suit the environmental conditions where they work. As of October 30, 2020, a new policy ensures that each member can choose the pants and boots that work for them, while still meeting the requirements of the RCMP uniform
- piloted new options for headdress items such as the dastaar and patka, and the RCMP-issue baseball cap that was redesigned to ensure better construction and comfort
- improved access to soft body amour that ensure proper fit and function in a more inclusive range of sizes
- enhanced transparency, trust and confidence by developing a plan to roll out body worn cameras (BWC) for all RCMP officers, in consultation with local communities
- in response to COVID-19, advanced the development of more inclusive personal protective equipment. We worked with the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program to pilot clear, re-usable facemasks to improve police/public interactions where face coverings are required. We also issued a challenge through ISC to Canadian companies to develop a proof of feasibility concept for a respirator that can be worn with beards and meets the RCMP's operational and safety requirements. Contracts are expected to be awarded in winter 2021.
We know there is more to do when it comes to ensuring the RCMP uniform meets our employees' needs
- in 2022, we will pilot new front-line uniform shirts, using results from the employee survey as well as other employee feedback
- we are looking at options to improve the duty belt so that it is more ergonomic, addressing issues of weight, fit and size while remaining aligned with the equipment it holds. Options are anticipated to be evaluated and user trial tested in summer 2022
We are improving police and public safety intervention equipment to provide every member with options that optimize their ability to deal safely and effectively, with the risks and situations they face in the performance of their policing duties. In 2022, members will have access to both new and improved equipment, including light-weight hard body armour, portable ballistic shields, lightweight batons and breaching tools. Work continues on the modernization of the current service pistol and the Taser with planned rollout starting in 2023.
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