Royal Newfoundland Constabulary

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) is the provincial police service for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The primary function of the RNC is to enforce provincial laws, the Criminal Code, and provide security details for VIPs and the Premier of Newfoundland. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is also responsible for providing metropolitan police services to the northeast Avalon Peninsula (St. John's, Portugal Cove - St. Philip's, Mount Pearl, and Conception Bay South); western Newfoundland (Corner Brook); and western Labrador (Churchill Falls, Labrador City, and Wabush).

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
Force constabulaire royale de Terre-Neuve
Badge of the RNC
Shoulder flash of the RNC
Shirt and vest patch
RNC flag
Motto"Safer Communities Through Policing Excellence"
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • Newfoundland Constabulary (1729)
Employees545 (2015) - 420 sworn members and 125 civilian members
Annual budgetTotal RNC $60,043,208 Total Current $48,454,517 (2012-2013)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionNewfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Map of Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's jurisdiction
Legal jurisdictionProvincial
Governing bodyHer Majesty in Right of Newfoundland
Constituting instrument
  • Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Act[1]
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters1 Fort Townshend, St. John's
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Office or Detachments7

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is one of three provincial police forces in Canada, alongside the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Sûreté du Québec.


The RNC dates back to 1841,[2] with the appointment of the first police constables. In the 19th century, the RNC was modelled after the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) with the secondment in 1844 of Timothy Mitchell of the Royal Irish Constabulary to be Inspector General, making it the oldest civil police force in North America. Mitchell served as Inspector General and Superintendent of Police until 1871, when the Newfoundland Constabulary was reorganized with a new Police Act.

Other officers recruited from the RIC to take command of the Newfoundland force included Thomas J. Foley, who served from 1871 to 1873, Paul Carty, who headed the RNC from 1873–1895, and John Roche McGowen, who served as constabulary Inspector General from 1895-1908.

In January 1909, John J. Sullivan became the first Newfoundland-born police chief of the RNC. He held that post until September, 1917.[3]

During World War II, the RNC pursued spies and criminal elements in the foreign military stationed at St. John's.[4] Their investigation into the 1942 Knights of Columbus Hostel fire has become popular knowledge.

In 1979, Queen Elizabeth II of Canada conferred the designation Royal on the Newfoundland Constabulary,[5] in recognition of its long history of service to Newfoundland and Labrador.

On May 3, 2005, the RNC made a formal exchange of colours with the Garda Síochána, one of the two successor forces to the old RIC. The exchange of colours was to mark the historic links between policing in Newfoundland and Ireland.


The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary serves alongside the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which is contracted by the provincial government to provide provincial and community policing services. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary services mainly major metropolitan areas while the RCMP serves smaller and remote rural areas.

The RNC polices the following areas:

Operating stations include:

  • St. John's - 3 locations: Headquarters, Patrol Services Division and Criminal Investigation Division
  • Mount Pearl - Satellite Office
  • Labrador City - Detachment
  • Corner Brook - Regional Office
  • Churchill Falls - Regional Office


Chief Constable Deputy Chief Superintendent Inspector Staff Sergeant Sergeant Constable Cadet


The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary maintains a fleet of vehicles of models from several major automakers, such as models including but not limited to the following:

RNC Police Interceptor Ford Taurus
Make/Model Type Status Origin
Chevrolet Impala General police vehicle  Canada
Chevrolet Tahoe (marked) General police vehicle, Traffic Services  Canada
Chevrolet Silverado (marked) General police vehicle, Forensic Identification Section  Canada
Dodge Charger General police vehicle  Canada
Ram pickup Parking Enforcement, Document Services Section  United States
Ford Police Interceptor Highway Unit, General police vehicle, Traffic Services  United States
Ford Expedition (marked) Supervisor Truck, Traffic Services, Special Operations  United States
Ford F-150 General police vehicle, Forensic Services Section  United States
GMC Sierra General police vehicle  United States
  • Other vehicles are commissioned for special purposes, such as the Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU), Dog Services, Mounted Unit Transport, and Evidence Collection.
  • 29-foot Mercury Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) with twin 200HP engines


As a result of the recommendations of the Select Committee on the Arming Policy of the RNC, members on operational duty were permitted to wear sidearms starting 14 June 1998.[6] Previously, members were required to keep all firearms secured in the trunk of the police cruiser and were only deployed with permission from the Chief.

Model Type Image Origin Details
SIG Sauer P226 handgun
Colt C8 Patrol Carbine Semi-automatic rifle
Remington Model 870 shotgun
 United States
Pepper spray Lachrymatory agent
Armament Systems and Procedures baton collapsible baton
 United States
Taser X26 Electroshock weapon
 United States

Mounted unit

The RNC has operated a mounted unit since 1873.[7]

The unit was created in 2003 replacing a voluntary unit. The unit's history can be traced back to three earlier units, the Newfoundland Constabulary Mounted Force 1873-1894, New Fire Brigade Mounted Force 1895-1922 and Newfoundland Constabulary 1922-1951.

The unit has four Percheron horses:

  • Dr. Rich
  • Townshend
  • Fraize
  • Dobbin


Marine Unit

RNC's Marine Unit dates back to the 1880s using the steam cruiser Fiona (c. 1887)[9] and now has 8 crew members patrolling the Newfoundland and Labrador coastline with 5 vessels, in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard.[10]

The current RNC Marine Unit RHIB is housed at the Rovers Search and Rescue Regional Training and Response Facility.

See also