Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the federal police force of Canada. The Mounties, as its members are called, enforce federal laws throughout Canada and provincial laws in all provinces except Ontario and Quebec. The traditional uniform, now reserved for ceremonial occasions, consists of a scarlet tunic, blue breeches, and a wide-brimmed hat. The RCMP's persistence in tracking criminals has led to the saying “The Mounties always get their man.” The force's motto is Maintiens le droit, French for “Uphold the Right.”
For many years the Mounties rode horses on their patrols and manhunts. Today they use horses only in ceremonial appearances. On duty they drive motorcycles and automobiles and use aircraft. The Marine Division of the RCMP uses various types of boats to patrol Canada's coastal waters and its share of the Great Lakes. The Mounties once trekked the far Northwest in dogsleds, but now patrol wilderness areas in helicopters.
The RCMP regular force includes some 16,000 men and women. They serve under the Solicitor General of Canada. General headquarters are at Ottawa, Ontario. All officers rise through the ranks. The RCMP maintains several crime detection laboratories and operates the Canadian Police College.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police dates to 1873. In that year the Canadian government organized the North West Mounted Police to protect new settlers in the region between Manitoba and British Columbia. In 1904 King Edward VII proclaimed the force the Royal North West Mounted Police. In World War I a squadron served in Europe and another in Siberia. In 1920 the force took in a federal organization called the Dominion Police. The combined forces adopted the name Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1974 the RCMP began to admit women to the force.