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RCMP – Iconic Brand in Trouble But Mounties Still Proud

The RCMP – A Brand Known Around the World

This last couple of weeks, the front page headlines of most media have been broadcasting about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the harassment allegations that are now playing out in the public arena of the courtroom.

You can read the story in the Vancouver Sun Article

Progress: The Transformation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

 I remember reading a report called Progress: The Transformation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was a report that hailed the results of a collaborative dialogue held from coast to coast to coast and spoke about the changes which had been made to fulfill the vision for the RCMP. The vision was to be “an adaptive, accountable, trusted organization of fully engaged employees demonstrating outstanding leadership and providing world-class police services.”

I remember finishing the report and feeling intensely proud.

The RCMP is an organization steeped in distinguished history. It is an iconic ‘brand’ which, just like the Metropolitan Police Force (that I had been a part of in London, England) symbolizes an entire country.

The Bobby helmet represents England instantly. Even if it is just a glance.

Likewise, the Stetson and red surge embodies Canada.

Policing organizations are much more complicated these days. They are a far cry from the day when PC 172563 Eastwood signed up to “preserve the public peace” in Sir Robert Peel’s London. It seemed all so easy then. Not now.

Police agencies are striving to match private industry in the manner in which they are run: from sophisticated hiring practices using best practices and erudite human resource philosophies to the use of advanced management methodology and budgetary controls based on accounting principles.

And with this maturity has come the realization that whatever the policing agencies focused on back then, it was certainly not to “preserve the organizational peace.”

No wonder NOW was the time to focus on ‘adaptability, accountability, trust, engaging employees, outstanding leadership, and the creation of world-class police services.’

And with the release of this report, voices started to make themselves heard.

Loud enough to end up as headlines in newspapers.

There is also this issue: acknowledging the fact that in large organizations such as the RCMP, based upon a command and control and hierarchical  in nature,  with its 19,000 sworn officers spread throughout the country (and the world), may not have actually known what they were looking for when asked about issues of mistreatment back then.

They certainly do now.

It’s just sad that so many people got hurt in the process.

Bill 14, (learn about the new Bill 14 as it relates to bullying and harassment here) is a provincial piece of legislation. The RCMP is federally guided.

Bill 14 sends a very clear message to organizations throughout British Columbia about the responsibility that employers, supervisors and employees have towards the health and mental wellness of everyone in the workforce.

‘Adaptability, accountability, trust, engaging employees, outstanding leadership and the creation of world-class police services,’ is a vision to be proud of.

It is also one that with today’s multi-generational workforces will require those leaders to do just that: lead.

A  basic tenant of first responders is to look after the first responders first. If the first responders aren’t safe and protected, then the people whom they are there to care for don’t stand a chance.

Although it’s painful sometimes to read the story behind the headlines (and it’s not just the RCMP by the way), I do so knowing that the vision is still intact and that the organization of tomorrow is going to be a much safer and healthier place to be as a result of the ‘transformation.’


About the Author:

Phil Eastwood is a former London Bobby who brings a thirty-five year career in policing to his role as Senior Partner of Fiore Group Training, a recognized leader in training top North American organizations. Phil is lead author of workplace training courses in respectful workplace training, workplace violence employee training, and leadership training seminars.

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