The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is an extensive police force which operates in the nation of Canada, and participates on occasional international missions; in Francophone Canada, this police force is known as the Gendarmerie Royale du Canada. This police force is somewhat unique in that it acts as a federal, provincial, and municipal police force, providing a range of policing services. Roughly 25,000 people work for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ranging from medical examiners to rural policemen, and careers in the Force, as it is known internally, are quite diverse.
The origins of the RCMP are quite colorful, and many references to the roots of this historic police force can be seen in the traditions and uniforms of its modern incarnation. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was formally established in 1920 by combining two forces, the Royal Northwest Mounted Police and the Dominion Police. Both of these forces had been established in the 1800s to cope with lawlessness on the Canadian frontier, and many of their members became known for their occasionally somewhat unorthodox approaches to law enforcement.
The scope of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is quite vast. Like other federal police forces around the world, the RCMP is responsible for enforcing federal law and for investigating crimes of interest to the federal government, like terrorism, organized crime, and financial crime. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also handles policing in the individual provinces of Canada, and offers policing services to many Canadian cities and towns, especially in rural areas where an independent police force would not be feasible.
RCMP officers also work to protect Canada's indigenous peoples, and with members of the youth community. A staff of forensic officials including investigators, medical examiners, and a wide assortment of scientific technicians supports the aims of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the RCMP is also responsible for protecting visiting dignitaries and maintaining a paramilitary force for crisis situations.
Oddly enough, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police isn't actually mounted, these days. A small population of horses is maintained for ceremonial and parade use, and some RCMP officers demonstrate their riding abilities during the annual Musical Ride, an event which showcases equestrian skills and raises awareness about the RCMP. Although the horses are gone, the distinctive red uniforms and Stetson hats associated with the RCMP remain.