Over 800 RCMP officers approved to aid Ottawa police ahead of motorcycle convoy

WATCH: Interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said the force learned "a lot" in managing protests in the city following the previous trucker convoy occupation.

The Ottawa Police Service is preparing for a convoy demonstration in the city’s downtown this weekend by readying 831 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers to support local efforts.

At a special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board a request to appoint 200 RCMP officers and re-appoint a further 631 was approved.

The re-appointed officers were first given special constable status during the “Freedom Convoy” protests that took place in Ottawa throughout much of February.

Ottawa Police are preparing for an event, Rolling Thunder, which could see protestors flood into Ottawa’s downtown core between April 29 and 30. Ottawa police said protesters would arrive between Friday and Saturday.

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The chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, said the protest would be a “convoy of bikers.”

Appointing RCMP officers does not guarantee they will be used during the protest but offers the police service flexibility if the situation changes.

“This is one of the new and improved ways we’re looking at approaching these demonstrations,” Interim Chief Steve Bell told board members on Wednesday.

To prepare for the event, Ottawa Police will ban vehicles from the downtown and increase the number of officers patrolling over the weekend.

Read more:

Police promise heavy presence, arrests for hate as biker convoy to descend on Ottawa

RCMP officers must be appointed with special constable status in order to carry out policing duties in Ottawa, which is under the jurisdiction of the Ottawa Police Service.

“These appointments ensure that the respective employees can carry out the full scope of their assigned duties,” a report to the board explained.

Board members also agreed to delegate authority to the chair and vice chair to approve new RCMP officers without calling a full meeting if the need arises through the weekend.

“The appointment of special constable status for these RCMP employees and the extension of the existing special constable status from the February illegal protest will allow them to undertake the full scope of their duties,” the report added.

The appointments will be valid until July, 2022.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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