Sûreté du Québec

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Sûreté du Québec
Sûreté du Québec.svg
Badge of the Sûreté du Québec[1]
Iv473 20040064 arms su sm.jpg
MottoService, Intégrité, Justice
Service, Integrity, Justice
Agency overview
FormedMay 1, 1870
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionQuebec, Canada
Size1,542,056 km2
Operational structure
Overviewed byMinistry of Public Security of Quebec[3]
Headquarters1701, rue Parthenais
Montreal, Quebec
H2K 3S7
Elected officer responsible
Agency executive
  • Martin Prud'homme, Directeur Général

The Sûreté du Québec (French: [syʁte dy kebɛk], Quebec's security), abbreviated SQ, is the provincial police force for the Canadian province of Quebec.[5] No official English name exists,[nb 1] but the agency's name is sometimes translated to Quebec Provincial Police in English-language sources. The headquarters of the Sûreté du Québec are located on Parthenais Street in the city's downtown core of Montreal and the force employs roughly 5,200 officers. SQ is the second largest provincial force (behind the Ontario Provincial Police) and fourth largest force in Canada (behind the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Toronto Police Service, and the Ontario Provincial Police).


The primary function of the Sûreté du Québec is to enforce provincial laws, some municipal bylaws, the Criminal Code, and many other laws throughout Quebec and to assist municipal police forces when needed.

At the local level, the SQ is responsible for providing local police services to municipalities that chose not to have their own (mostly localities with populations under 50,000), in exchange for payment relative to their size. In other cities, the Sûreté du Québec can also take over crime investigations from municipal forces, when required by the Police Act of the province, according to the severity of the crime and the size of the population (e.g., the SQ will take in charge any homicide with no imminent arrests in a city of less than 250,000, even if it has its own police department)[8] The SQ is usually present in smaller, rural, or suburban communities, and is not usually visible in the streets of urban centres such as Montreal and Quebec City, whose police forces must provide a wide range of services and operations by law. In those cities, however, the Sûreté still has large offices where various investigations are conducted.

At the provincial level, it is responsible for actions such as patrolling the highways of Quebec, preserving the integrity of governmental institutions, coordinating large-scale investigations (such as during the biker war in the 1990s), and maintaining and sharing the criminal intelligence database of Quebec with other forces.[9] In addition, the SQ can provide technical assistance to Quebec's independent investigation unit (BEI) in any incident involving possible wrongdoing by another police department, such as deaths and serious injuries. Should the SQ be involved in such an incident, assistance, if needed, will be provided either by the police services of Montreal or Quebec City.[10]


On February 1, 1870, the Quebec provincial government created the Police provinciale du Québec[11] under the direction of its first commissioner, Judge Pierre-Antoine Doucet. This new force took over the headquarters of the Quebec City municipal police, which were then disbanded, although the city relaunched a municipal force in 1877.

In 1900, two distinct provincial police forces were created: the Office of Provincial Detectives of Montreal, in response to a crime wave in that city, and the Revenue Police, whose mission was to collect taxes. In 1902, the government decided that the provincial police should no longer be directed by a judge but by an officer of the police themselves. Augustin McCarthy was chosen as the first chief drawn from the ranks of the police.

In 1922, two headquarters were established, one in Quebec City, headed by McCarthy, and one in Montreal, headed by Dieudonné Daniel Lorrain. The Office of Provincial Detectives of Montreal became part of the general provincial police in that year. The Quebec division included 35 police officers and two detectives. In 1925, police officers started patrolling on motorcycles. In 1929 and 1930, the structure of the force was reformed and the agency adopted a new name as Sûreté provinciale du Québec which was later shortened to its present name.[12]

Montebello incident[edit]

The Sûreté du Québec admitted in August 2007 that they had used undercover police posing as protestors at the 2007 Montebello Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America meetings. This admission[13] was made after a video captured by protestors was widely circulated in the Canadian media and made available on YouTube.[14] It is not uncommon[clarification needed] to make use of undercover agents at protests of this kind, but the video was especially controversial[according to whom?] because it appeared[by whom?] to show one of the officers carrying a rock, suggesting to some viewers[who?] that the police may have been acting as agents provocateurs by inciting violence.[citation needed]

Chiefs and Directors-general[edit]


Upper floors of the SQ headquarters in Montreal.
  1. Bas-Saint-Laurent-Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  2. Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
  3. Capitale-Nationale-Chaudière-Appalaches
  4. Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec
  5. Estrie
  6. Montréal-Laval-Laurentides-Lanaudière
  7. Outaouais
  8. Abitibi-Témiscamingue-Nord-du-Québec
  9. Côte-Nord
  10. Montérégie

Rank badges[edit]

Rank insignia of the Sûreté du Québec are on contained on slip-on sleeves, worn on the epaulettes of uniform jacket or shirt shoulders.

Constables (Agent) do not have any insignia on their uniform. The SQ formerly had the rank of Corporal above Constable rank. Team leaders have an epaulette with the words Chef d'équipe.

Rank Team Leader Sergeant Lieutenant Captain Inspector
Insignia SQ-CE.png SQ-SGT.png SQ-LT.png SQ-CPT.png SQ-INSP.png
Rank Chief Inspector Deputy Director Director General of the SQ
Insignia SQ-INSPC.png SQ-DGA.png SQ-DG.png


Early uniforms were British in origin, including the use of the custodian helmet, with the kepi later added as well.[15] The force adopted a uniform with a more distinct green tone, as well as a peaked cap, in the 1960s.[16]

The emblem of the force changed in the 1970s, when the old provincial coat of arms gave way to the fleur-de-lis.

In late 2016, Martin Prud'Homme, Director General of the SQ, announced the uniforms would be changed. Shirts and coats will be of a darker shade of olive green; patches, caps, and bulletproof vests will become black, and pants blue-black. One of the justifications for the changes was that the old green uniform was too similar to that of a soldier's.[17]


Beginning progressively in 2017, marked patrol cars are set to become black with white doors, on which the word "POLICE" will be more evident.[18]

Dodge Charger with pre-2017 colors
Ford Police Interceptor Utility with post-2017 colors
A helicopter during the 2012 student protests




Special Vehicles:





The standard-issue weapon of the SQ is the Glock pistol, loaded in 9×19mm Parabellum caliber. Various models are adopted, such as the standard Glock 17 Gen 3, compact Glock 19, and sub-compact Glock 26. Tactical officers used the CQB Close Quarter Battle combat rifle, a variant of the Colt Canada C8 rifle.

Prior to the Glock pistols, officers carried .357 Magnum revolvers, which were replaced with the Glock 17 in 2001.[20]

Licence Plate Recognition System[edit]

The SQ has been using the LPRS systems since 2009. The objective of the LPRS is to make the streets and highways safer by removing vehicles not authorized to be on the road. The hotlist plate database can consist of the following types:

  • unregistered plate (not paid at DMV/SAAQ)
  • stolen vehicles
  • AMBER Alert
  • wanted vehicles

The LPRS are installed on 10 Sûreté du Québec vehicles. The LPRS integrator is Gtechna. Gtechna is primarily a citations issuance and management software developer which integrates mission critical technologies such as Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) to streamline the enforcement of moving and parking violations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Being a minority, Quebec English speakers frequently use common or official French language terms instead of the more recognised English terms of North-American English. see Quebec English,[6][7]


  1. ^ "Sûreté du Québec badge". Official website of the Governor General. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  2. ^ "Sûreté du Québec arms". Official website of the Governor General. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  3. ^ "Sûreté du Québec". Ministère de la Sécurité publique (in French). Retrieved 2018-12-15. Corps de police national qui agit sous l'autorité du ministre de la Sécurité publique
  4. ^ "Effectifs et ressources - Police nationale - Sûreté du Québec". Sq.gouv.qc.ca. Archived from the original on 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  5. ^ The Sûreté du Québec on the official website describes the force as a "national police force". "As a national police force providing services to citizens, other police organizations and the State, the Sûreté du Québec is also a leader in..."
  6. ^ "QPP - Quebec Provincial Police". Acronymfinder.com. 1990-07-11. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  7. ^ "Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest - Canada - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  8. ^ "The Six Levels of Police Service According to Population Size". Sécurité Publique Québec.
  9. ^ "Mission, vision, valeurs". Sûreté du Québec (in French). Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  10. ^ "62 investigations, no charges in Quebec police watchdog's first year". Montreal Gazette. 2017-06-27. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  11. ^ "1870 Les débuts de la Sûreté du Québec - Police - Sûreté du Québec". Sq.gouv.qc.ca. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  12. ^ "1920-1929 Création de services spécialisés - Police - Sûreté du Québec". Sq.gouv.qc.ca. 2008-10-22. Archived from the original on 2016-05-30. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  13. ^ "Quebec police admit they went undercover at Montebello protest". CBC News. August 23, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  14. ^ "police accused of attempting to incite violence at spp". YouTube. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  15. ^ "1878 La police après 1878 - Police nationale - Sûreté du Québec". Sq.gouv.qc.ca. 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  16. ^ "1963-1967 Identification visuelle et modernisation - Police nationale - Sûreté du Québec". Sq.gouv.qc.ca. 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  17. ^ "La SQ affiche ses couleurs". Journal de Montréal. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  18. ^ "Sûreté du Québec rolls out new black and white cruiser design". CBC News. 13 July 2017. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ https://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2001/05/17/glock-en-stock-a-la-sq

External links[edit]