The RCMP Commissioner's tipstaff is a wood and metal-tipped baton, approximately three feet long, which is used as a symbol of office. In the case of the RCMP, it is a symbol of the Commissioner's office and is adorned with the rank of commissioner.
During the Change of Command ceremony, the outgoing commissioner passes the tipstaff to the incoming commissioner.
The first RCMP Commissioner's tipstaff was presented to Commissioner W.L. Higgitt, on September 3, 1970, by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. It was intended as an expression of gratitude toward the RCMP and a demonstration of unity among police forces in Canada.
Today, the Commissioner's tipstaff symbolizes the solemn responsibility and authority for law enforcement borne by the Commissioner of the RCMP, and is displayed in the Commissioner's office.
Originally called a "tipped staff," this object dates back to 16th century England. At the time, it was carried as a practical reinforcement to the authority of a variety of law enforcement officials. Later, it came to serve much the same function as a badge of the King's authority for law enforcement.
The function of the tipstaff was gradually reduced to that of a receptacle for transporting arrest warrants and other legal processes. For this purpose, tipstaffs were constructed as hollow tubes with a tip that could be unscrewed to reveal the contents. The tipstaff has become entrenched as a symbol of traditional British and Canadian law enforcement authority.
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