The Benefits of PeacekeepingCanadian Police Peacekeeping and Peace Operations By Superintendent Kevin Lamontagne, Director of Peace Operations, Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceA deployed Canadian police officer speaks with UN personnel during a patrol visit through Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Since 1993, Canadian police have served on various UN missions and bilateral projects in Haiti. It is the longeststanding mission of the RCMP’s International Peace Operations Program. When we think of peacekeepers, we almost exclusively think of the military. But many people are not aware that Canada also deploys police officers to peacekeeping operations around the world.Our country deploys personnel to peace and stabilization missions through the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA), a partnership between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Public Safety Canada, and Global Affairs Canada. The goal of the CPA is to support the Government of Canada’s commitment to building a more secure world through Canadian police participation in international peacekeeping and peace support operations, which are critical to longer-term security sector reform and conflict-prevention efforts.Those police officers come not only from the RCMP but from International Peace Operations’ (IPO) partner agencies across the country. In fact, approximately 60% of deployed police officers are from our partner agencies.The IPO currently partners with 33 agencies – nine of which are provincial, regional, municipal, and Indigenous police agencies in Ontario.Since 1989, more than 4,000 Canadian police officers have participated in more than 60 peace operations missions abroad. They have established an excellent reputation through their expertise, leadership, professionalism, and dedication. They work closely with host nations and international partners to rebuild and strengthen police services and related public institutions in countries experiencing conflict or instability. Having a professional, well-trained and wellequipped police service is key to:• building trust in government• fostering stability• making people and communities feel more secure and• enhancing the rule of law in fragile and conflict-affected states.Supporting police and building their capacity to maintain the rule of law can help to prevent criminal activities, such as smuggling, fraud, and trafficking in humans, drugs or weapons, from spilling across borders into other countries, including Canada.As police leaders and managers, you may be asking yourselves, “Why should we deploy our personnel to peace operations overseas? What’s the benefit to our community?” Rest assured that there are indeed benefits to the individual deployed, the home police agency, and to the community in general.The Benefits of Peacekeeping Serving on a mission can be the experience of a lifetime for police personnel. It is an exciting opportunity to work abroad in support of peace and security, and to make a tangible difference for people who live in poverty and conflict-affected countries. It can also be a time of great personal and professional growth. Participating in a mission effectively serves as accelerated training. We estimate that the experience gained during a one-year deployment is equivalent to approximately two to three years of working at the home agency.Responsibilities are generally at a higher level than at home, and include supervision, strategic planning, training, and mentoring of police officers, often at senior levels. Our deployed police officers’ communication and interpersonal skills improve through constant interaction with their counterparts from the host nation, as well as other police contributing countries (PCCs). There are language barriers and cultural and religious differences that require adaptation and creativity to maintain communication and build rapport with colleagues. Canadian police officers bring these newly acquired and honed skills back home.Deployed Canadian police officers participate in their medal ceremony at the end of their deployment to Haiti. Canadian police have established an excellent reputation in international policing through their expertise, leadership, professionalism and dedication.Police officers who have deployed also see an improvement in their ability to self-manage, self-motivate, create partnerships, make decisions, and take on leadership roles, whether formally or informally. Officers are better able to remain adaptable and flexible in the face of shifting priorities, wide-ranging duties, or challenging situations, whether these situations arise from work or environmental conditions.And it is not just the individual who benefits from this growth. These experiences help police officers mature in their roles in their home agencies. They are able to take on additional responsibilities, communicate effectively, and improve interactions in their personal lives and in the communities they serve.A deployed Canadian police officer participates in the medal ceremony at the end of her deployment to Haiti. Women bring different experiences, views and skills to the table, which is why it is important to have a more diverse and inclusive police service.Representing Canada Police agencies that allow their personnel to deploy to peace operations missions have a unique opportunity to represent Canada on the international stage and to provide developmental opportunities to their members. The communities they serve get police officers with a more global perspective and an improved ability to engage with people from different cultures.Deployed Canadian police officers play a critical role in implementing Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. They contribute to the development of professional and effective law enforcement institutions that respect human rights, particularly those of women, girls and marginalised communities. They protect civilians from violence, including sexual violence and they meet the needs of the local population. Increasing the meaningful participation of women in peace operations missions is both the right and smart thing to do.Canada is a leader in the deployment of female police officers. Not all countries that contribute to police peacekeeping have women involved in front-line policing. Our professional, well-trained and capable women police officers set an example and provide mentorship to police in the host nation. Further, it is sometimes the first time that men from other PCCs have the benefit of working alongside female counterparts, giving them a broader perspective and new respect for the contributions of female officers. For deployed women police officers, navigating this dynamic allows them to showcase their skills and abilities and bridge the divide that exists within some policing communities.The CPA partners recognize the importance of ensuring that women work in all positions and capacities within peace operations and, in particular, senior and leadership positions. The CPA actively looks to deploy Canadian female police officers to senior roles within missions. We also seek opportunities to train female officers in foreign countries to participate in peace and stabilization missions.Most recently, Canada has renewed its participation in Pre-Selection Assistance and Assessment Team (Pre-SAAT) training for Francophone female police officers, to help them succeed in deploying to UN missions. The UN’s SAAT program travels to PCCs to evaluate police applicants for UN missions on a number of criteria. As part of its efforts to recruit more women for missions, the UN launched all-female Pre-SAATs, aimed at increasing the number of women deployed to peace operations.A Safer World The Canadian policing community understands that a safer world means a safer Canada. Unstable societies offer opportunities for crime to flourish. Our police officers may help reduce the spread of crime in our own communities by helping host-nation police to fight crime in their communities.We would like to thank all of our partners for their continued support. Their participation allows us to help rebuild and strengthen police services in fragile and conflict-affected states.We are always seeking additional partner agencies to contribute personnel to peacekeeping missions. As a partner agency, your members will be able to apply when job posting bulletins are published and to deploy overseas. They will benefit from all of the personal and professional rewards that come with a deployment and will bring those rewards back home to share with their families, colleagues, and communities.If your agency is not already a CPA partner agency and you think this would be a good opportunity, please contact: rcmp.peaceoperations-operationsdepaix.grc@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Join Canadian police in building a more secure world.Superintendent Kevin Lamontagne is a 33-year member of the RCMP with postings in three provinces and a foreign country as a Liaison Officer. A passionate advocate for the benefits of international cooperation, he conducted a capacity building mission in Cambodia with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, is the past Vice-President of the International Working Group for Undercover Activities, was the recipient of the 2021 CACP International Policing Award, and has had the opportunity to travel extensively in support of international criminal investigations.
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