1946: RCMP Hiring & Training Practises Have Changed

Photograph of the "Depot" Division Hall's RCMP King's Crown crest (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

 

 

 

Regardless of the period of time, all RCMP members have one thing in common – their basic training at “Depot” Division.  We have included below a perspective of “Depot” from 1946 and changes thereafter.

 

 

 

During World War II, the strength of the Force had been seriously depleted with many members volunteering for service with various branches of the Canadian Armed Forces.   During the war, the Force was not permitted to recruit and train new members. Consequently, many retired members stepped forward to volunteered their services.

With the end of the war, the Force commenced a major recruiting drive.  At the time, the qualifications to join the RCMP were as follows:

– British or Canadian subject;

– history of good conduct and no criminal past;

– only single individuals would be accepted;

– good physical condition;

– age between 18 and 30 years;

– reached at least Grade 8 in school;

– at least five feet eight inches tall; and

– weight between 165 to 21o pounds.

Upon being sworn into the Force, the new recruits agreed to serve for five years with the possibility of renewal with good service. If a member wished to leave the Force prior to the expiration of their five year term, they had to purchase their discharge.

With their acceptance into the Force, the new recruits were provided a transportation requisition for a train trip to the RCMP “Depot” Division in Regina, Saskatchewan.

1946 - Photograph of RCMP  Recruit sitting on his barrack room bed polishing his brass buttons (Source of photo - RCMP Quarterly).

1946 – Photograph of RCMP Recruit sitting on his barrack room bed polishing his brass buttons (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly).

1946 - Photograph of RCMP Recruits in an accident investigation course at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - RCMP Quarterly).

1946 – Photograph of RCMP Recruits in an accident investigation course at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly).

The six month basic training consisted of:

– 38 hours of physical training; (i.e. cross country runs and boxing);

– many hours of swimming instruction in the “Depot” pool;

–  13 hours on wrestling and police holds;

– lectures on the operating and maintaining a police motor vehicle;

– 20 hours of first aid instruction;

– 60 hours of typing classes with the expectation of typing at least 30 words per minute;

– 37 hours of drill;

– many hours of equitation and caring of horses;

– many hours of instruction on the RCMP Rules & Regulations; the RCMP Act; criminal code; federal statutes; investigational techniques ( interviews & statement taking; search & seizure); traffic control; crowd control; and public relations;  

– 18 hours of Force history.  The esprit-de-corps was fostered through the accounts of achievements, courage and hardships of past members; and

– weekend passes could be applied for provided that members were not assigned to fatigue duties or confined to barracks.

1946 - Photograph of RCMP Recruits in the Gym at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - RCMP Quarterly).

1946 – Photograph of RCMP Recruits in the Gym at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly).

1946 - Photograph of RCMP Recruits taking a typing class at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - RCMP Quarterly).

1946 – Photograph of RCMP Recruits taking a typing class at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly).

Under the command of a tough instructor, the prolonged hours of drill and equitation training  instilled a sense of discipline and pride.  Fatigues were also used to make recruits realize they were just a cog in a very big machine.

1946 - RCMP Recruits at "Depot" Division - Many hours of drill teaches the recruit discipline and how to carry himself in uniform (RCMP Quarterly)

1946 – Photograph of RCMP Recruits at “Depot” Division – Many hours of drill teaches the recruit discipline and how to carry himself in uniform (RCMP Quarterly)

The ultimate achievement for these graduating recruits was the right to wear with pride their RCMP red serge, stetson, breeches, Strathcona boots and spurs and to be transferred to their first Detachment.

1949 - Photograph of "B" Squad RCMP Recruits graduating photograph at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - Pattie King)

1949 – Photograph of “B” Squad RCMP Recruits graduating photograph at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – Pattie King)

As was the tradition, the graduating member could not be transferred back to his home province. At their subsequent Detachment postings, they would develop investigational and management skills under the watchful eye of their Detachment Commander and supervisors.

1950 - Photograph of RCMP members at North Battleford Subdivsion (Source of photo - Jack Doyle #11768)

1950 – Photograph of RCMP members at North Battleford Subdivsion (Source of photo – Jack Doyle #11768)

For the 1940s and up to the early 1970s, each member receive their own personal copy of the Constables Manual.  We have included some interesting references contained in this manual:

The Peace Officer and the Police – Part 6 (page 12) – As members of the Force are public servants, their efficiency, deportment, and living habits will always be the subject of scrutiny and comment by citizens of the community in which they are stationed.  Therefore, the constable must exercise discretion in his choice of friends and associates during off-duty hours.  Members of the Force who are in their late teens and early twenties must be much more mature in their conduct than other youths of corresponding age.  Consequently, they should not take part in any activities which may be termed juvenile, other than in an advisory or super visionary capacity, nor associate with any one in a way which might bring discredit to the individual constable or to the Force.

Part 9 (page 13) – During the course of a constable’s duties, citizens will ask his advice on many topics.  He should try to be as helpful as possible.  Questions should be answered civilly and intelligently, but opinions should not be expressed too readily on anything of a controversial nature.  Above all, care should be taken to avoid political or religious discussions.  Likewise, the constable must not discuss police matters with persons who ask questions out of Fidel curiosity.  These remarks also apply to his friends and family.  When a policeman is on an investigation, he is looking for information; he is not supplying it.

Loyalty to the Force – Part 18 (page 16) – There must be discipline in an organization such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.   When a body of men work together on a common task, someone has to take responsibility, issue instructions and give orders; if each member of such a body was to rely on his own opinion, the result would be utter confusion. All orders should be carried out in a cheerful and willing manner; there is no room for grumbling and dissatisfaction. Cheerfulness should be a keynote in the constable’s everyday contacts with fellow members. Loyalty to the Force is expected, and nothing less than complete loyalty is good enough. By being loyal, obedient and cheerful, the new constable can become a real asset to the Force he serves.

It was the constant expectation of compliance and discipline with close supervision which ensured consistency throughout the Force. RCMP Service Court was frequently used to reinforce compliance to Force policy, standards and expectations.  Service Court sanctions could delay promotional opportunities and undesirable transfers.

In the mid 1960s and early 1970s, major changes came about: equitation component of basic training was eliminated; educational requirements changed; university graduates were encouraged to join; married restrictions were eliminated;  paid overtime came into effect; grievance process was introduced; Division Staff Relations Representative (DSRR) was established; and women were accepted into the Force.

1980s - RCMP "E" Division Drill Team (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

1980s – RCMP “E” Division Drill Team (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

In the 1980s and 1990s, the RCMP Rules & Regulations and Operational Manual exploded into multiple manuals: Administration Manual; Operational Manual; CPIC Manual; Officer’s Manual; Informatics Manual; etc… Consequently, Detachments had three level book cases to house all the manuals. Each member was expected to know and comply with the provision of all Force policy and statutory requirements.  Detachment Commanders and support staff are expected to keep these manuals updated.

The Force continues to evolve with the aid of technology, public expectations and court rulings.  Despite all the hardships that RCMP members are subjected to, there is still a long line of individuals wanting to join the Force and to carry on the tradition of public service.  The spirit of community service is still a cornerstone of the Force and its members.

photograph of an RCMP Detachment sign (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

 

 

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