Canada has deployed police officers to peace missions around the world since 1989. Over 4,000 Canadian police officers have been to over 33 countries, including Sudan, Kosovo, West Bank, Haiti and Afghanistan. They help rebuild or strengthen police services in countries experiencing conflict or upheaval. Through police participation in these missions, Canada commits to building a more secure world.
Serving on a mission is a unique opportunity for police officers to contribute to public safety in unstable countries. It also allows them to improve their leadership, and problem-solving and intercultural skills. This benefits their police services and the communities they serve at home.
How it works
Requests for Canadian police come from organizations such as the United Nations or from specific countries. The decision to deploy Canadian police is made via the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA), a partnership between Global Affairs Canada, Public Safety Canada and the RCMP. The goal of the CPA is to support the Government of Canada's commitments to build a more secure world through Canadian police participation in international peacekeeping and peace support operations, which are critical to longer-term security system reform and conflict-prevention efforts.
The RCMP manages the deployment of Canadian police, including:
- planning and evaluating missions
- selecting and training personnel
- providing support throughout the deployment
Canadian police personnel deployed abroad come from a wide range of police services, not only the RCMP. These police officers have many roles depending on the mission, including:
- training, mentoring and monitoring
- supporting free and fair elections
- investigating human rights violations
- responding to humanitarian crises
Canadian police can also work on specialized teams that focus on areas of:
- community policing
- management development
- serious and organized crime
Preparing for peace operations
I'm proud that our work is directly supporting the involvement of uniformed women in peace operations around the world.
Sergeant Tai Chang was the team lead of a group of five Canadian police officers deployed to Zambia recently. They were tasked to train women police officers for success in deploying to United Nations (UN) missions.
This training helped Zambian women police officers prepare for the upcoming Assessment for Mission Service (AMS)," he explained. "
That is a required test for all police officers wishing to participate in a UN peacekeeping mission."
Increasing the participation of women in the full spectrum of UN policing activities is critical to operational effectiveness and efficiency. In some countries, driving or carrying a firearm is not part of their regular duties, which poses significant challenges to their deployment.
This preparatory training enhances the effectiveness of UN peace operations by:
- increasing the deployment of qualified women police officers
- developing a greater understanding of key factors that positively contribute to the deployment of women police officers, and
- enhancing the utilization of women police officers in UN peace operations
We've seen the progress firsthand. We conducted the language portion of the AMS on the first day of the training to assess the class," Sgt Chang explained. "
Had the AMS occurred without our assistance, the pass rate would have been approximately 48% for the language portion. By the end of the first week of training, we saw the pass rate for language assessment increase to 90%!"
The ratio of instructors to candidates is 1:10 for each training session. Each course lasts two weeks. On average, 50 candidates attend each training session. The sessions take place in the host countries, and Canada sends five instructors per session to provide training.
I really feel that I can bring something concrete and beneficial to every woman that we're instructing," elaborated Sergeant Audrey-Anne Bilodeau of the Sûreté du Quebec. "
For example, with just one morning of providing tips and suggestions, every single Zambian participant passed the driving test within the allotted time and without knocking over any cones!"
The equipment and materials Canada purchased through the Elsie Initiative, combined with the training provided by the Canadian police officers, enabled the Zambian participants to acquire new skills that will undoubtedly help them during the AMS and in their deployment in a peacekeeping mission.
Canadian expertise is highly valued, and these deployments are an opportunity to improve the capacity of other Police Contributing Countries to UN missions.
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