Military police

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Military police (MP) are police organizations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:

  • a section of the military solely responsible for policing the armed forces (referred to as provosts)
  • a section of the military responsible for policing in both the armed forces and in the civilian population (most gendarmeries, such as the French Gendarmerie)
  • a section of the military solely responsible for policing the civilian population (such as the Romanian Gendarmerie or the Chilean Carabineros)
  • the preventative police forces of each Brazilian state (Policia Militar), responsible for policing the civilian population, which become auxiliary forces of the Brazilian Army in time of war

The status of military police is usually prominently displayed on the helmet and/or on an armband, brassard, or arm or shoulder flash. In the Second World War, the military police of the German Army still used a metal gorget as an emblem.

Naval police are sometimes called "masters-at-arms".

Asia[edit]

Cambodia[edit]

The Gendarmerie, or "Military Police", known as the Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia is a paramilitary unit with about 7,000 soldiers deployed in all provinces. It is headquartered in Phnom Penh. The unit's chain of command is through the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces High Command.

The Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia is deployed in every province and cities to keep the law in orders. Military police in Cambodia play an important role in Cambodia society, keeping law and order in cities along with the National Police.

India[edit]

India's Corps of Military Police personnel patrolling the Wagah border crossing in the Punjab in a Maruti Gypsy
IA Corps of Military Police.png

The Corps of Military Police (CMP) is the military police of the Indian Army. In addition, the CMP is trained to handle prisoners of war and to regulate traffic, as well as to handle basic telecommunication equipment such as telephone exchanges. They can be identified by their red berets, white lanyards and belts, and they also wear a black brassard with the letters "MP" imprinted in red.

Internal policing duties in a regiment (or a station) are handled by the Regimental Police, who are soldiers of the unit who are assigned to policing tasks for a short period of time. They are essentially used to regulate traffic, and can be identified by a black brassard with the letters "RP" embossed in gold or white.

The Indian Air Force is policed by the Indian Air Force Police. They can be identified by their white peaked caps, white lanyards and belts (with a pistol holster). They also wear a black brassard with the letters "IAFP" imprinted in red.

The Indian Navy has the Navy Police, and they can be identified by a black brassard with the letters "NP" in gold, with the state emblem placed in between the N and the P.

Japan[edit]

During World War II, the Kempeitai were the military police of the Imperial Japanese Army and the Tokeitai were the military police of the Imperial Japanese Navy. They also performed intelligence and secret police functions and were active in Japan and its occupied territories. They were at the forefront of committing Japanese war crime against Asian neighbors.

Today's Japan Self-Defense Forces maintain military police units.

Malaysia[edit]

A Malaysian military police personnel patrolling the House of Parliament with a Honda ST1300 during the Nation 52nd Independence Day celebration
The Malaysian Royal Military Police Corps assisted the Malaysian policemen in providing security coverage at the Parliament Square in Kuala Lumpur during a 52nd Independence Day parade in 2009

The Kor Polis Tentera DiRaja (Royal Military Police Corps) performs military police duties in the Malaysian Army. Apart from enforcing discipline and conduct of members of the Army, the Corps oversees security of designated Army installations, performs escort and ceremonial duties, and assists civil law enforcement authorities. The Kor Polis Tentera is also tasked with crime prevention and investigating criminal activities on Army property or by military personnel. With its roots in the British Royal Military Police, members of the Kor Polis Tentera DiRaja also wear the distinctive red peaked cap, white lanyard and belt, as well as a black brassard with the letters "PT" imprinted. PT stands for "Polis Tentera", the Malay words for "Military Police". Military police on traffic duty wear armbands sporting the letters "MP" in red.

Pakistan[edit]

Since the establishment and inception of the Pakistan Armed Forces, Pakistan Armed Forces maintain their own military police. It was followed by establishing Pakistan Army Rangers, though, they were given the status of special paramilitary unit of Pakistan Army completely under control of civil government. Later, Pakistan Navy established the "naval police", and Pakistan Air Force later established Air Police to maintain order in Air Force. Pakistan Government later established the Frontier Corps (North-West Frontier Province), Mehran Force, Maritime Security Agency and Pakistan national guards join it to law enforcement in Pakistan.

The "Naval police" is Pakistan Navy's established military police, and they can be identified as white brassard with the letters "NP", and the white beret . The Army maintains its own Military Police, known as Pakistan Army Corps of Military Police. The Army's Corps of Military Police can be identified as white armlet and white combat helmet with the letters "MP", written in Green colors. The Air Force established its own military police known as "Pakistan Air Force Police Corps". The Air Police can be identified as white armlet and the white combat helmet as the letters are written in Blue colors in the combat helmet. The "Pakistan Rangers" are a special operations paramilitary force under control of Interior Ministry of Pakistan Government. The Rangers are credited to participated alongside with Army's Special Forces in numerous battles.

The Naval, Army, and the Air Force Military Police Corps does not have civilian jurisdiction nor the civil courts can interfere in the operations of Military Police Corps . Instead, all the of combined Military Corps are under jurisdiction of the Judge Advocate General Branch (also known as JAG Corps), the military justice system of Pakistan Armed Forces. In a very few cases, the Military Police Corps have worked with the civil Police Services of Pakistan if the civilians are involved.

Philippines[edit]

The Philippine Armed Forces currently maintains its own military police distinct from the nation's civilian force.

The American-established (now defunct) Philippine Constabulary (PC) was also known as the Military Police Command. Pursuant to Republic Act 6975 (the DILG Reorganization Act of 1991), the PC and the Integrated National Police merged to form the civilian Philippine National Police, and was placed under the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Sri Lanka[edit]

Each of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces has its own military police/Provost branch. The Sri Lanka Army is policed by the Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police and by Regimental Police, who belong to each individual regiments or corps.

The Military Police force carries out the following missions:

  • Maintenance of order and discipline: Consists of monitoring, maintaining and, if necessary, re-establishing discipline and military order. This also involves controlling stragglers and refugees in times of war and guarding and escorting prisoners of war.
  • Security missions: Prevents and deters any threat to or attack against the personnel and property of the armed forces. MPs also provide VIP motorcycle escorts and honour guards, perform close protection missions, and escort classified documents and money transports.

The Sri Lanka Navy is policed by the Provost Branch. The Sri Lanka Air Force is policed by the Air Force Police (AFP).

Singapore[edit]

In Singapore, the Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command serves as the law enforcement agency of the Singapore Armed Forces. The Command is headed by a Colonel, otherwise also known as the Provost Marshal. Its sub-units included the Military Police Enforcement Unit (including Special Investigations Branch and the ceremonial and drill components), the Detention Barracks (DB), The 1st Provost Bn, MP Training School and the Security Support Forces (including Military working Dog Wing, Close Protection and Security Ops Unit). The Command also collaborates closely with the Singapore Police Force in terms of policing work duties, investigations, etc.

South Korea[edit]

South Korean Military Police at the Joint Security Area in 2007.

Taiwan[edit]

Taiwanese Military Police Special Service Company

The ROCMP is responsible for enforcing military law, maintaining military discipline, providing backup for the civilian police force or serving as combat troops during times of emergency, providing security for certain government buildings, including the Presidential Building in Taipei City, as well as performing counter-terrorism and VIP protection operations. The ROCMP are also charged with the defense of the capital Taipei.

Thailand[edit]

A Royal Thai Navy Military Policeman in Royal Ploughing Ceremony of 2009 at Sanam Luang, Bangkok

In Thailand, each branch of the armed forces has its own military police force. The Royal Thai Navy has the สารวัตรทหารเรือ (Naval Military Police), the Royal Thai Army has the สารวัตรทหาร (Army Military Police), and the Royal Thai Air force has the สารวัตรทหารอากาศ (Air Force Military Police).

The duties of the Air Military Police Department (กรมทหารสารวัตรทหารอากาศ) are peacekeeping, securing, regulating the traffic discipline within the Air Force installations and housing area, tackling illegal objects including deserted officers and runaway accusers, escorting VIPs and investigating crimes that are under the authority of the Military Court. These investigations include prisoners of war, enemy aliens, refugees and displaced officers within the Air Force and designated areas. It is under supervision of the Commander of the Air Military Police Department.

There is one active Air MP Battalion called the Battalion of Military Air Police (กองพันทหารสารวัตรทหารอากาศ). The Air Military Police Department is one unit under the supervision of the Office of Don Muang RTAF Base Commander (สำนักงานผู้บังคับทหารอากาศดอนเมือง).

Vietnam[edit]

In Vietnam, the 144th Brigade of Military Guard (Cảnh vệ Quân sự) is under command of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army. Vietnam Military Guard is responsible for guarding and protecting Presidential Palace, Government Offices as well as Army Offices. Besides Vietnam Military Surveillance (Kiểm soát Quân sự) is also under command of the General Staff and responsible for supervising military laws on soldiers and officers

Australasia[edit]

Australia[edit]

Military Police vehicle in Australia

In the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police also performs the role of a secondary communications network in the front battle zone. In the Royal Australian Navy, the Naval Police Coxswain Branch performs dual roles of performing general police duties, investigation of criminal offences and a secondary role of ships' coxswain staff responsible for administration of ships' personnel. In the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force Security Police perform the military police role, and train military working dogs for the Royal Australian Air Force while the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police train their own working dogs for a more Infantry/combat role. All major crimes committed by or against personnel of the Australian Defence Force are investigated by the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service.



New Zealand]]

In the New Zealand Defence Force, ‘Military Police’ refers to elements within the New Zealand Army only. The term ‘Service Police’ is used to refer to the elements that provide military police services within the three services.

Service policing within the Royal New Zealand Navy is performed by the Master-at-Arms trade. These regular force (full-time) service members conduct criminal investigation services at sea and ashore, with additional duties also performed while at sea. Security of shore bases is the responsibility of New Zealand Defence Force civilian security personnel.

The Corps of Royal New Zealand Military Police provide military policing within the New Zealand Army. Consisting of full-time and part-time service members, the RNZMP conduct Policing Operations, Investigation Operations, Custodial Operations, Security Operations and Battlefield Circulation Control domestically (within New Zealand) and deployed.

Service policing within the Royal New Zealand Air Force is conducted by RNZAF Force Protection (formerly RNZAF Police / Air Security Police). RNZAF Force Protection personnel conduct security of airfields and Air Force bases, policing and investigation services, and provide training for Air Force personnel in Ground Defence, Core Military Skills and drill/ceremonial training, the Military Working Dog unit also provides an additional security function for airfields and aircraft and works closely with Force Protection personnel when deployed both at home in New Zealand and overseas on deployment.

Criminal investigations into offending by service personnel or involving service property are undertaken by the Service Police elements of the respective single service (Navy, Army or Air Force). At all NZDF facilities, civilian staff are used to augment physical security manpower, particularly for relatively simple tasks like ID checking and security patrols.

Europe[edit]

Austria[edit]

An Austrian MP secures and monitors marching soldiers (conscripts)

Military Police Command (Kommando Militärstreife & Militärpolizei – Kdo MilStrf&MP) The Austrian Military Police Command, located in Vienna, consists of the following elements

  • Military Police HQ
  • Fundamentals Division
  • Training Division
  • Signal platoon
  • Close protection
  • 3 MP Companies
  • MP militia

The Military Police has three locations in Austria. The Military Police Command and one MP Coy are located in Vienna. One MP Coy is in Graz and one in Salzburg.

The Military Police is the branch within the Austrian Armed Forces tasked with law enforcement and the protection of the forces, military events and Austrian Armed Forces property. The increasing number of international operations with the participation of Austrian soldiers and new threat scenarios hugely expand the spectrum of tasks. Additionally to its traditional domestic tasks, the formation now also fulfills tasks in international operations. In Austria the Military Police is only tasked with internal Armed Forces matters. Abroad, the Military Police is tasked with extensive assignments. It closes the security gap between a conflict that has ended and a functioning society. A large number of experienced specialists and modern equipment are required to meet these demanding tasks.

National tasks include:

  • Check routines and security checks
  • Security duty
  • Traffic control
  • Close Protection
  • Force Protection
  • Law enforcement
  • Inquiries

International tasks include:

  • Taking down traffic accidents
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Fingerprinting and photographing
  • Interrogations
  • Searches/investigations/support in interventions
  • Detention of dangerous criminals
  • Crowd and riot control
  • Operation of detention facilities
  • Interventions (Special weapons and tactics - SWAT)
  • Close Protection
  • Defence against terrorism

Belgium[edit]

The Belgian Army's Military Police Group (Groupe Police Militaire in French, Groep Militaire Politie in Dutch) performs military police duties on behalf of all four components of the Belgian military. The group is headed by a colonel and has 188 members in five MP detachments. Until the police reformation around 2001, the Belgian Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie was, besides its civilian policing tasks, responsible for the nation's Military Police duties.

The Military Police Group staff is located in the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in the Brussels suburb of Evere. Alpha Detachment located at Evere covers the province of Flemish Brabant and the capital, Brussels. Bravo Detachment covers the Walloon Brabant, Hainaut and Namur areas and is located at Nivelles. Charlie Detachment located at Marche-en-Famenne covers the Liege and Luxembourg areas. Delta Detachment covers the Limbourg and Antwerp areas and is located at Leopoldsburg. Echo Detachment located at Lombardsijde covers Western and Eastern Flanders.

The Military Police force carries out the following missions:

  • Maintenance of order and discipline: Consists of monitoring, maintaining and, if necessary, re-establishing discipline and military order. This also involves controlling stragglers and refugees in times of war and guarding and escorting prisoners of war.
  • Traffic regulation: Includes traffic monitoring and regulation to ensure the flow of military movements in accordance with plans. This includes route reconnaissance and marking, convoy and oversize vehicle escort and river crossing control. Traffic accident investigations is also a part of the job.
  • Security missions: Prevents and deters any threat to or attack against the personnel and property of the armed forces. The Military Police force protects, for example, the Palace of the Nation and the Parliaments and Councils of the Regions and the Communities, headquarters and classified conferences. MPs also provide VIP motorcycle escorts and honour guards, perform close protection missions, and escort classified documents and money transports.

The Belgian Military Police has also taken part in multinational peacekeeping missions such as Afghanistan, Kosovo and Congo. The Federal Police’s Military Crime Division (DJMM) performs all investigations involving the armed forces.

In 2003, duties relating to refugees and deserters in wartime were transferred from the then disbanded RijkswachtGendarmerie to the MPs. Members of the former 4 and 6 MP Companies were merged into the new MP Group, along with some Gendarmes previously assigned MP-related duties.

Belgian MPs are identified by black armbands with the letters MP in white block letters, worn on the left arm.

Croatia[edit]

Croatian MP in uniform

The Croatian Military Police (Croatian: Vojna policija) is a part of the Croatian Armed Forces (Oružane snage Republike Hrvatske). The Croatian Military Police was formed on 27 August 1991, shortly after the National Guard Corps (Zbor narodne garde) now the Croatian Army was formed.

Parts of Croatian Military Police are:

  • NSVP - Military Police Education center "Bojnik Alfred Hill"
  • 66th Military Police Battalion
  • 67th Military Police Battalion
  • 68th Military Police Battalion
  • 69th Military Police Company
  • 70th Military Police Company
  • 71st Military Police Battalion
  • 72nd Military Police Battalion
  • 73rd Military Police Battalion (HRM (Croatian Navy))
  • 74th Military Police Company (HRZ (Croatian Air Force))
  • 75th Military Police Battalion[1]

Czech Republic[edit]

Vehicle of Czech Military police

The MILITARY POLICE Corps (Czech vojenská policie) was set up on 21 January 1991. Within the provisions of the Czech Law No. 124/1992 Dig. regarding the Military Police, they are responsible for police protection of armed forces, military facilities, military material and other state property controlled by the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. The Military Police are a professional force.

The Military Police are headed by a Chief, who directly reports to the Minister of Defence.

As of 1 July 2003, the Military Police officers are equipped with accessories black in colour, including their distinctive feature - the black beret.

The structure is based on the territorial principle. The Military Police subordinated headquarters are located in Prague, Stará Boleslav, Tábor, and Olomouc.

Military police officers are assigned directly to military units, and they form also part of military contingents of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic in foreign deployments. Foreign Deployments:

The military police officers serve within contingents of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic on foreign operations on the territory of Iraq and on the Balkans, and as of March 2007 its Special Operation Group (SOG) also in southern Afghanistan in the Helmand Province.

Denmark[edit]

Danish navy military police Mercedes-Benz Viano.

In Denmark the military police (Danish: militærpoliti) services are carried out as independent units under each branch. In the army all military police tasks are done as an integral part of the Trænregimentet,[2] whereas the navy military police is and independent unit under command and control of the commanding officer of the Danish Frogman Corps[3] and the air force, as a part of the force protection squadron (Squadron 660) of the air force Combat Support Wing.[4] Unlike the two other branches, the navy military police also handles installation guard duties (which is carried out by regular soldiers in the army and by an installation protection unit under Squadron 660 in the air force) of naval installations as well as certain military installations in the Danish capital region, such as the Danish Defence Command and the Ministry of Defence.

MP-personnel typically wears either branch-specific display dress uniforms with white shoulder-markings with the text MP or the branch-common daily battle dress uniforms, with a red beret. In the air force the MP-shoulder markings is typically replaced with markings saying either VAGT or GUARD, but for international missions they also use the MP-markings.

MP-personnel generally doesn't have elevated legal authority towards civilians in non-military places, but only towards military personnel and on military installations (also public accessible places like Holmen naval base in Copenhagen). On some occasions MP-personnel can support the civilian police in certain tasks, but will only have slightly more legal authority than civilians - similar to the police home guard.

In the army military police are almost without exception NCO's or officers, whereas the navy and air force relies mainly of Danish ranks OR-1 to OR-3.

Furthermore the home guard has a police branch, which supports both the civilian Danish police and the military police.

Typical MP-jobs are:

  • Installation/perimeter guard
  • Personnel protection
  • Traffic control
  • Courier services
  • Prisoner transport

Estonia[edit]

The Sõjaväepolitsei are the Military Police of the Estonian Defence Forces <http://www.mil.ee>. The Estonian MP organization was created in 1994 and is today divided into tactical(patrol) and investigative units[]. Additionally conscript based reserve- MP platoons are trained in Guard Battalion every year. MP tasks include: investigation of serious disciplinary cases and some armed service- related crimes, supervision of military discipline within the Forces, military traffic control and various security tasks. Within conflict/crises areas (Afghanistan) the MP may provide close protection of the Estonian national representative and other visiting VIPs. When on regular patrol assignment, Estonian MPs wear a black brassard on their right shoulder, with the letters SP in silver, and are usually equipped with an HK USP 9 mm pistol, spare magazines, radio, handcuffs, pepper spray and an expandable police baton.

Finland[edit]

The Sotilaspoliisi (literally, "Soldier Police") are the military police of the Finnish Defence Forces. The Finnish MPs wear a black brassard on the left shoulder with the letters 'SP' in white. A military policeman is usually armed with a 9 mm pistol, a baton, pepper spray and handcuffs on his belt. The military police includes both career and conscript personnel, and is primarily used to guard military installations and supervise military traffic. All military police personnel are trained with basic police techniques and usually receive training for fighting in urban areas. In wartime, the tasks are more extensive and include protection of key personnel and targets, especially against enemy special forces, and surveillance, control, pursuit, arrest and destruction missions.

The military police has jurisdiction over military personnel, military areas, installations and exercise areas. However, a military police patrol may stop a crime that it witnesses in process in a civilian area. Additionally if a military police unit is near to a serious crime taking place, such as a robbery or an assault, and the civilian police are delayed, a military police unit that is near to the scene can offer to handle the situation until the civilian police arrive. As with some other Finnish Defence Forces units, the military police can be used to provide assistance to the civilian police when they are undermanned or lack special resources. In such case, the military police may take measures deemed necessary by the civilian police. For example, during the 2005 Helsinki World Athletic Championship Games, military police conscripts and career personnel were placed along the marathon route to prevent the large numbers of spectators from obstructing the runners.

Before and during World War II, Finland did not have military police in peacetime, but only temporary sotapoliisi ("war police"). Ex-police officers were conscripted for police officer duty in the armed forces. Planning for sotapoliisi was still unfinished at the break of war, so regular reservists could not be conscripted. Thus personnel had to be recruited without regard to quality; conscripts found unfit for field duty for e.g. health reasons, and even those with previous criminal record were recruited, and the reputation suffered.[5] For a long time, sotapoliisi existed only in wartime. However, improvement to this came eventually: the military police school was founded in 1963, and civilian police background was no longer required.

The crimes committed by military personnel are, as a rule, investigated by the military. Minor infractions are usually investigated by the career personnel of the unit, while more serious crimes are investigated by the investigative section of the General Staff of the Finnish Defence Forces. In minor matters, the company commander or his superiors may use disciplinary powers, but more serious cases are deferred to the civilian prosecutor who will take the case to the district court.

France[edit]

Gendarme mobile

The Gendarmerie Nationale acts as both the military police and one of the two law enforcement forces of France.

Special divisions
  • The Gendarmerie Navale (also called the Gendarmerie Maritime) polices the Navy (and also acts as a coast guard and water police force).
  • The Gendarmerie de l'Air polices the Air Force, it is placed under the dual supervision of the Gendarmerie and the Air Force, it fulfills police and security missions in the air bases, and goes on the site of an accident involving military aircraft. This branch is separate from the Air Transport Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie des Transports Aériens), which is placed under the dual supervision of the Gendarmerie and the direction of civilian aviation and fulfills police and security missions in civilian airfields and airports.
  • The Ordnance Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie de l'Armement) fulfills police and security missions in the establishments of the Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (France's defence procurement agency).
  • The Gendarmeries non-metropolitan branches include units serving in the French overseas départements and territories (such as the Gendarmerie of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), staff at the disposal of independent States for technical co-operation, provost detachments in French bases located in some independent States, Germany, security guards in French embassies and consulates abroad.

Germany[edit]

Current badge of the Feldjäger
Duty gorget of the WWII Feldgendarmerie

During World War II, Germany had numerous military police units. The primary units were the Feldgendarmerie, which comprised members of the Gendarmerie. Other units included the Army Patrol Service (Heeres-Streifendienst), the Train Station Guards (Bahnhofswache), and the Feldjägerkorps. Criminal investigations were conducted by the Geheime Feldpolizei or Secret Field Police.

The Feldjäger are the current military police of the German Bundeswehr. The term Feldjäger ("field rifleman" or "field hunter") has a long tradition and dates back to the mid-17th century. Their motto is Suum Cuique ("To each his own", derived from Cicero, De Finibus, Bonorum et Malorum, liber V, 67: "(...) ut fortitudo in laboribus periculisque cernatur, (...), iustitia in suo cuique tribuendo.").

Greece[edit]

Men of the Greek military police (Stratonomia)

The paramilitary Greek Gendarmerie fulfilled most security and order duties in Greece until World War II. In 1951, Law 1746/51 established the framework of the Hellenic Army's Greek Military Police (Greek: Ελληνική Στρατιωτική Αστυνομία or ΕΣΑ, Ellinikí Stratiotikí Astynomía). The organization—and particularly its Special Interrogative Department, EAT-ESA—became notorious for its brutality during the 1967–1974 military junta. Law 276/76 renamed it simply to "Military Police" (Στρατονομία). Corresponding organizations exist also for other two branches of the Greek armed forces: for the Hellenic Air Force (Αερονομία, Aeronomia), founded in 1945 as the Greek Air Force Police (Ελληνική Αεροπορική Αστυνομία, EAA), and for the Hellenic Navy (Ναυτονομία, Naftonomia, properly Υπηρεσία Ναυτονομίας or Y.NΑ.)

These three forces work together often but are independent from each other. Most of the personnel are draftee soldiers undergoing their regular military service.

Ireland[edit]

The Irish Military Police (colloquially "PA"s, deriving from the official title, Póilíní Airm) are responsible for the prevention and detection of crime in the Irish Defence Forces. Entry to the PA is restricted to serving members of the Defence Forces. All members of the Corps are NCOs, with Officers being transferred in for temporary assignments. Unlike many Military Police Services, they retain responsibility for controlling access to many, but not all, military posts. In addition they provide a military detachment to the Oireachtas (Houses of Parliament) and have a large ceremonial role. In the past they had a role in training armed elements of the Garda Síochána but in recent times this has decreased. Historically, they were responsible for detaining political prisoners in Military Prisons (until the handing over of Military Prisons at Cork, Spike Island, Arbour Hill and the Curragh to the Civil Authorities) and in the past occasionally provided firing squads for executions (the last time being the "Emergency" period of 1939-1946).

Israel[edit]

The Israeli Military Police Corps (Heil HaMishtara HaTzva'it) is the military police/provost of the Israel Defense Forces. It also helps monitor prisons containing Israeli soldiers. At times of emergency enemy detainees are held and sorted by the military police.

The corps has very few civilian jurisdiction and for that reason works in conjunction with the Israel Police when civilians are involved. The Israel Border Police is Israel's Gendarmerie-equivalent.

Italy[edit]

Italian Carabinieri with the MP uniform

The Arma dei Carabinieri is a gendarmerie force acting as both the military police and one of the three national police forces in Italy. Formed on 13 July 1814, it has been for almost two centuries the senior branch of the Italian Army, until on 5 October 2000 it had become a fully independent Service of the Italian military.

With a strength of about 120 000, the Arma dei Carabinieri is a very large organization, including its own Air and Naval Services, but most of its personnel is used for civilian police duties.

The properly Military Police components of the Arma dei Carabinieri are grouped into the "Divisione Unità Mobili Carabinieri" (Carabinieri Mobile Units Division), organized as follows:

2nd Brigade: 1st Carabinieri Parachutist Regiment "Tuscania". 7th Carabinieri Battalion "Trentino - Alto Adige". 13th Carabinieri Battalion "Friuli - Venezia Giulia". Gruppo Intervento Speciale.

From this units are drawn most of the elements that form the Carabinieri MP coys, platoons and detachments assigned to all the major Italian Army, Navy and Air Force units, as well as many of the personnel forming the MSU Regiments (Multinational Specialist Units) and the IPUs (Integrated Police Units) serving abroad in support of European Union, NATO and United Nation missions. The Arma dei Carabinieri have gained a very good reputation for the professionalism and organization of their MP units in support of international missions, so much that during the 2004 G8 Sea Island Conference the Carabinieri have been tasked to organize and run the CoESPU (Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units), to centralize the training of multinational MP units for international missions.

The 1st Brigade of the same "Divisione Unità Mobili Carabinieri", organized on 11 Mobile battalions and 1 Cavalry Regiment, does contribute to form the same Military Police components as the 1st Brigade, but is mostly tasked to riot control civilian police duties. It is worth to note that inside each of its battalions there is usually a small Mechanized company, so in case of war they are likely to be mobilized for combat duties (as it happened during both World Wars).

The Guardia di Finanza acts as a specialized Military Police force when called upon. Its normal duties include being a force acting in border control, customs duties, and police investigations about financial crimes and illegal drug trafficking.

NATO[edit]

Evolution of Military Policing: during the Cold War the approach of NATO to military policing was to provide Military Police support to National Forces in terms of:[6]

  • Traffic Control
  • Military Security
  • Law & Order

Post cold war, this has now evolved into:

  • Mobility Support
  • Security
  • Policing
  • Detention

Netherlands[edit]

In the Netherlands, the function of military police is performed by the Koninklijke Marechaussee ("Royal Constabulary"), a separate branch of the military independent of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Besides performing military duties, the Marechaussee is also a gendarmerie force.

The word Marechaussee seems to derive from the old French name Marecheaux given to an ancient court of justice in Paris called the "Tribunal of Constables and Marshals of France". These constables and marshals were to become members of the Gendarmerie, which served as a model for the police forces of both Belgium and the Netherlands. The term Marechaussee was also used for the Continental Army's military police during the American Revolution.

New Zealand[edit]

In the New Zealand Defence Force, ‘Military Police’ refers to elements within the New Zealand Army only. The term ‘Service Police’ is used to refer to the elements that provide military police services within the three services.

Service policing within the Royal New Zealand Navy is performed by the Master-at-Arms trade. These regular force (full-time) service members conduct criminal investigation services at sea and ashore, with additional duties also performed while at sea. Security of shore bases is the responsibility of New Zealand Defence Force civilian security personnel.

The Corps of Royal New Zealand Military Police provide military policing within the New Zealand Army. Consisting of full-time and part-time service members, the RNZMP conduct Policing Operations, Investigation Operations, Custodial Operations, Security Operations and Battlefield Circulation Control domestically (within New Zealand) and deployed.

Service policing within the Royal New Zealand Air Force is conducted by RNZAF Force Protection (formerly RNZAF Police / Air Security Police). RNZAF Force Protection personnel conduct security of airfields and Air Force bases, policing and investigation services, and provide training for Air Force personnel in Ground Defence, Core Military Skills and drill/ceremonial training, the Military Working Dog unit also provides an additional security function for airfields and aircraft and works closely with Force Protection personnel when deployed both at home in New Zealand and overseas on deployment.

Criminal investigations into offending by service personnel or involving service property are undertaken by the Service Police elements of the respective single service (Navy, Army or Air Force). At all NZDF facilities, civilian staff are used to augment physical security manpower, particularly for relatively simple tasks like ID checking and security patrols.

Norway[edit]

Volkswagen Passats of the Norwegian military police

In Norway, military police are service members of the Norwegian Army, Royal Norwegian Navy or Royal Norwegian Air Force. Since about 2002, all are trained at Sessvollmoen Camp. MPs in the Army are assigned to the Military Police Battalion, located at Bardufoss, Troms county. The first battalion commander and Provost Marshal of 6. division Norwegian Army was Maj M Langvik, the current battalion commander is Lieutenant Colonel Jan Henry Norvalls. The battalion consists of approximately 50 officers and NCOs, and 150 privates and corporals. Norwegian MPs first go through a six-month selection/educational period, before being assigned to the battalion or to regimental duties with other units for the remainder of their twelve-month service. Norwegian MPs do not have authority over civilians, except on or in the vicinity of military installations, vehicles or other property or under martial law. They do have authority over military personnel, including in certain circumstances reservists, anywhere, including when such personnel are off duty.

The Heimevernet ("Home Guard") also has MPs in its ranks. Usually each District (regiment) has one or two platoons, consisting exclusively of former regular or conscript military police personnel.

Norwegian MPs wear a red beret and a red lanyard around the left shoulder extending to the left front pocket. Only personnel currently serving as MPs are allowed to wear this. When on official duty, they also wear the MP armband, which is black with "MP" in red letters. It was previously worn on the right shoulder, but is now worn on the left shoulder, following NATO practice. They can also wear white webbing, or a number of items for special duties, like high visibility vests for traffic duty, or as mounted personnel while performing motorcycle escort for the Royal Family or their official guests, etc.

Army canine units are also assigned to the MP battalion, but the personnel in such units are not necessarily MPs. Such personnel do not hold military police authority, and do not wear the MP insignia.

MPs have no other powers over civilians than ordinary members of the public, except inside, or in the immediate vicinity of military installations. More serious cases, like narcotics, are handed over to civilian police for investigation.

Poland[edit]

The Military Gendarmerie (Żandarmeria Wojskowa, ŻW) are the MP's for the entire Polish military.

Portugal[edit]

Yamaha TDM 900 of the Portuguese Army Police

In Portugal, each branch of the armed forces has its own military police force. The Portuguese Navy has the Polícia Naval (Naval Police), the Portuguese Army has the Polícia do Exército (Army Police), and the Portuguese Air Force has the Polícia Aérea (Air Police). The Air Police is an Arm of its own inside the Air Force, but the Army Police is only a speciality of the Cavalry Arm and the Naval Police is a speciality of the Fuzileiros (Marines) Corps. The Navy also has a coast guard police force, composed by Portuguese Navy troops, the Polícia Maritima (Maritime Police), with the responsibility of guarding the Lisbon Naval Base and some other naval facilities, and to serve as a coast guard and criminal police in the area of responsibility of the Maritime Authority.

Portugal, also, has a gendarmerie type force, the GNR - Guarda Nacional Republicana (National Republican Guard), a special corps of troops that executes both civil public security missions and military missions. In time of peace, the GNR is under operacional command of the Minister of Internal Affairs, but in time of war it can be put under the command of the Armed Forces.

Romania[edit]

In Romania, the Romanian Military Police (Poliţia Militară) carries out police duties for the Romanian Armed Forces. It usually handles military security and military crimes and it has national jurisdiction. The Romanian military police is organized in four battalions (two of them are headquartered in Bucharest, one in Iaşi and one in Târgu Mureş).

The Romanian Gendarmerie, although a military force with national jurisdiction, is not tasked with enforcing the law within the armed forces (in contrast to the French Gendarmerie, which acts as both military and national police force).

Russia[edit]

The Russian Military Police (Военная полиция России) are the MP's for the entire Russian military and carries out police duties for the Russian Armed Forces.

Former military police organisations were the Commandant's Service (Военная комендатура) and Military Automobile Inspection (Военная автомобильная инспекция (ВАИ)).

Serbia[edit]

(Latin: Vojna Policija, Cyrillic: Војна полиција) The Military Police are one of the best qualified and most combat-prepared organizations within the Serbian Military. Their responsibilities include counter terrorist operations, combating organized crime, close protection, securing hostages and search and rescue.

Specific training is provided for members of special units of the Military Police. Drills for Military Police units, from squad to battalion, are based on their anticipated tactical employment, including training in putting down civil disorder. The Military Police Directorate of the General Staff of the Serbian Military is responsible for overseeing the units of the Military Police.

See also:

Spain[edit]

Emblem of the Spanish Civil Guard.svg
Emblem and Badge of the Spanish Army Military Police.svg

Civil Guard (in Spanish Guardia Civil) is the equivalent to the gendarmerie in Spain. Despite their name, they are not civilians but military and subjected to military discipline. Their main and historical role is as rural police in rural areas. Nowadays they are also in charge of counter terrorism, road traffic control out of the cities, coast guards and customs, search and rescue and at sea and in the mountains and the security of the Spanish Prime Minister and the Government. They have jurisdiction in all the Spanish territory and over the civilian population. Therefore they are comparable to French Gendarmerie or Italian Carabinieri.

Besides the Guardia Civil, each branch of the Spanish Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) has it own military police (Policia Militar, Policia Naval y Policia Aerea respectively). They are only recognised as constabularies with jurisdiction over the military installations and military personnel. They have no jurisdiction over civilians out of the military installations. They are also in charge of the security of the military installations, play a role as bodyguards of the Generals, Admirals and other relevant military personnel, provide security services to military transports and police the military personnel abroad.

Soviet Union[edit]

The Soviet Armed Forces did not have any units technically named 'military police'. Two separate agencies handled military police duties on a day-to-day basis.[7]

The Komendantskaya sluzhba or "Commandant's Service" of the Soviet Army wore a yellow letter "K" on a red patch on the sleeve to indicate their membership of this service—the "de facto" army police.

A second organisation called the Traffic Regulators existed within the Rear Services. Traffic Regulators served to control military highway and motor vehicle traffic. Traffic Regulators also wear a white painted helmet with red stripes to indicate their status and either an armband ar patch with the Cyrillic letter "P" (R).

Sweden[edit]

The Swedish military police are stationed at the regement livgardet in Stockholm. There are 2 MP companies, 14th and the 15th company. The 14th MP company are serving a so-called GSS/T contract (2 years of service over an period of 8 years, the remaining time the soldiers can have a civilian job or study) and the 15th MP company is serving a so-called GSS/K contract (hired continually for 8 years). Livgardet is also the seat of the Swedish Military police unit (MP- enheten) who is responsible for the education of new MP's and is in charge of all MP activities in Sweden. Part of 13th security battalion which is a counter intelligence battalion is also seated in Livgardet and has some soldiers who are trained MP's (mostly corporals and sergeants).

Switzerland[edit]

In the Swiss Armed Forces, the Military Police is responsible for law enforcement on military property and for all incidents where military personnel or equipment is involved. Furthermore, the military police provides protection of Swiss representatives abroad and is in part responsible for the guarding of embassies and foreign VIPs in Switzerland, as well as maintaining personal security for members of the Swiss Federal Council. In addition, the Swiss Explosive Ordnance Disposal Center is a branch of the MP for the disposal of unexploded ordnance and also participates in various demining operations around the world.

The professional MP units comprise 758 officers and are divided into four Regions, each consisting of two companies and additional groups specialised on criminal investigations and training. In addition, there are two militia MP battalions with a head count of roughly 2000 men.

Unlike regular army personnel, military policemen wear grey uniforms in order to provide distinct identification. Moreover, the MP is equipped uniquely, armed with SIG Pro side arms and SIG 552 assault rifles (compared to the standard issue SIG P220 pistol and SIG 550 assault rifle). Professional MP units drive patrol cars similar to those of the civilian police, but also use Piranha and Duro APCs.

Turkey[edit]

The Askeri İnzibat, or As.Iz., are part of the Turkish Gendarmerie, one of the five branches of the Turkish Armed Forces, and constitute a very small dedicated force that handles military security and military crimes.

Ukraine[edit]

The Ukrainian Military Police (VSP) is the military police for the Ukrainian Armed Forces

United Kingdom[edit]

British military police using field glasses to look across the Berlin Wall from a viewing platform on the western side, 1984.

In the United Kingdom the term 'Military Police' usually refers to the Royal Military Police. The Royal Military Police is the branch of the Adjutant General's Corps, responsible for policing the British Army (both in the United Kingdom and overseas).

The term 'Service Police' is often used to describe the three separate police organisations for each of the three branches of the UK's Armed Forces:

The Royal Navy Police also provides Royal Marines specialising as service policemen. Prior to 2009, the Royal Marines Police was an independent organisation.
In addition to the Royal Military Police, most British military units have their own Regimental Provost (RP) staff. Sometimes referred to as Regimental Police, they do not have any police powers, but are soldiers responsible for discipline within their own units. They are normally located in the Guardroom.

In addition, each of the three service police has its own Special Investigation Branch (SIB) to undertake investigation of more serious crime and plain-clothes investigations, and utilise the joint Service Police Crime Bureau operated by the RNP, RMP and RAFP.

North America[edit]

Canada[edit]

Canadian Forces Military Police Domestic Operational Patrol Uniform

The Canadian Forces Military Police (CF MP) contribute to the effectiveness and readiness of the Canadian Forces (CF) and the Department of National Defence (DND) through the provision of professional police, security and operational support services worldwide.[8]

CFMP are unusual in that they are classified as Peace Officers in the Criminal Code of Canada,[9] which gives them the same powers as civilian law enforcement personnel to enforce Acts of Parliament on or in relation to DND property or assets anywhere in the world. They have the power to arrest anyone who is subject to the Code of Service Discipline (CSD), regardless of position or rank under the National Defence Act (NDA). MP have the power to arrest and charge non-CSD bound civilians only in cases where a crime is committed on or in relation to DND property or assets, or at the request of the Minister of Public Safety, Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada or Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Although MP jurisdiction is only on DND property across Canada and throughout the world, any civilian accessing these areas falls under MP jurisdiction and are dealt with in the same manner as any civilian policing agency. If in fact a crime is committed on or in relation to DND property or assets, MP have the power to arrest and charge the offender, military or civilian, under the Criminal Code of Canada. It is important to note though that the purpose of the CFMP is not to replace the job of a civilian police officer, but rather to support the Canadian Forces through security and policing services.[10][11] MP also have the power to enforce the Provincial Highway Traffic Acts on all military bases in Canada pursuant to the Government Property Traffic Regulations (GPTR).

United States[edit]

Each branch of the military of the United States maintains its own military police force, except for the U.S. Coast Guard, which is its own law enforcement agency; the coast guard uses its port security/shore patrol, Reserve Investigators, and members of the Coast Guard Investigative Service to regulate its own population. Here is a list of military police forces:

Each service also maintains uniformed civilian police departments. They are referred to as Department of Defense Police (DoD Police). These police fall under each directorate they work for within the United States Department of Defense, for example: DoD Army or DoD Navy Police. The Department of the Air Force Police operate under the Air Provost Marshal. The police officers' duties are similar to those of local civilian police officers. They enforce the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), federal and state laws, and the regulations of their particular installation.

Felony level criminal investigations in the United States Armed Forces are carried out by separate agencies:

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is a civilian agency that answers directly to the DOD as well as the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA).

The United States Constabulary was a gendarmerie force used to secure and patrol the American Zone of West Germany immediately after World War II.

Combat Roles of the US Army, US Air Force and Marine Corps Military Police[edit]

US Army, US Air Force, and Marine Corps, in addition to their roles as enforcers of law and order on military installations, fulfill a number of combat roles as well. Military Police in Afghanistan and Iraq have been widely employed for such duties as convoy security, mounted and dismounted patrols, Military Working Dog operations, security details for senior officers, and detainee handling.[13] Army MPs and Air Force Security Forces have been widely utilized as prison guards in detainee facilities, whereas Marine Corps MPs focus on securing and processing detainees before passing them on to Army holding facilities.[15][16][17]

A US Army MP inspects a Soviet AK-47 recovered in Vietnam, 1968.

Limitation of authority and jurisdiction[edit]

United States military police are prohibited from enacting state police powers and domestic police officer powers under the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law passed in 1878. MPs may enforce certain limited powers, such as traffic stops, on access roads and other federal property not necessarily within the boundaries of their military base or installation. The only way MPs are allowed to enforce law and order outside of the military realm as stated above is when martial law is in effect. When combined, the Posse Comitatus Act and Insurrection Act place significant limits on presidential power to use the military in a law enforcement capacity. This allows the state more time to use their resources and authorities to the fullest extent, allowing for the possibility of military involvement only when their resources have been completely used up.

The Posse Comitatus Act applies specifically to the U.S. Army (and, by extension the U.S. Air Force, which evolved from a service of the Army under the National Security Act of 1947). The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are not included in the statute but the Department of the Navy (which oversees both services) adopted the statute by regulation.

The only military force exempt from the act is the United States Coast Guard, as its mission includes maritime law enforcement duties; and state National Guard troops under state authority and state defense forces, which are state troops serving under the governor and may be assigned enforcement support duties. The Alaska State Defense Force has a Military Police section, who are state constables. For instance, Louisiana National Guard MPs are frequently present at Mardi Gras, assisting local and state law enforcement.

South America[edit]

Brazil[edit]

'Military police' in Brazil has two meanings - there are provost corps for each of the Brazilian Armed Forces: Army Police (Portuguese: Polícia do Exército, PE) for the Army, Navy Police (Portuguese: Polícia da Marinha) for the Navy, and (Portuguese: Polícia da Aeronaútica, PA) Air Force Police for the Air Force.

São Paulo State Military Police Mounted Police officers in São Paulo, Brazil.

The second type are the preventative police, with military organization comparable to gendarmerie, called the Military Police (Portuguese: Polícia Militar). Each State has their own Military Police.

There is also a joint National Public Security Force (Portuguese: Força Nacional de Segurança Pública), created in 1999. This force is composed of the most qualified State Military Police personnel from all the states, only to be used when the governor of a state asks for help to control a significant security crisis.

Colombia[edit]

Military Police of Colombia during a practice event in Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca.

In Colombia, MPs (Policia Militar in Spanish) are very common. They can be seen guarding closed roads, museums, embassies, government buildings and airports. In the National Army of Colombia they are assigned to the 37 Military Police Battalion, wearing green uniforms with the military police helmet.

References[edit]

External links[edit]