The Independent has reported today on the prospect of job cuts in the MoD Police, raising fears of reduced security at facilities that might contain nuclear materials. The Sun reported that 900 personnel were facing the chop in a forthcoming review.
In its reply, the MoD states that it is considering ways to reduce spending on the MoD Police to allow resources to be focused on the front line. In its closing remark, the MoD also state that security of nuclear locations will never be compromised.
In our previous post on the MoD Civil Service, we stated that the MoD Police and Guarding Agency has approximately 7,700 staff, or 11% of our notional civil service figure, but is it the full picture?
Policing in the military is fragmented, many organisations, services and agencies make up the overall picture.
At the basic level you will find soldiers doing their familiar guard duty or stagging on. This happens in the UK and overseas by all units. Small teams of Regimental Police provide the next layer up, responsible for good order and discipline but without many of the powers of the Royal Military Police.
The Provost Branch of Adjutants General’s Corps comprises about 4,300 regular and territorial personnel and is split between the Royal Military Police (the Redcaps), Military Provost Staff and the Military Provost Guard Service.
The RMP provide Close Protection and have an investigative role, this being covered by the Special Investigation Branch or more commonly, the SIB. The RMP also have many roles when deployed into an operational theatre but do not charge offenders as this is dealt with by the Army Legal Service.
Military Provost Staff specialise in custody and detention and man the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, in addition to deploying as necessary.
Military Provost Guard Service is the third component of the Provost Branch of the AGC and provide guarding, access control and dog handling services on sites where soldiers normally live and work, replacing civilian staff and trained soldiers that would be more efficiently deployed on other duties. Although not regular soldiers in the traditional sense, members of the MPGS enlist on a Military Local Service Engagement, they must have served in some capacity in the armed forces and form part of the Army’s establishment.
Carrying out a similar role to the RMP, the RAF Police comprise regular and reserve personnel. The RAF Regiment provides a force protection capability and a number of other specialist functions.
Known as Regulators, the Royal Navy Police perform a similar role to the RMP and RAF Police and in addition, the Shore Patrol has a similar function to Regimental Police staff in the Army.
Responsible for the training of all service police the Tri Service Defence College also houses a number of specialist functions and completes the military policing function.
The MoD Police and Guarding Agency is a result of a merger between the MoD Police and the MoD Guard Agency.
A civilian police force for the MoD, the MoD Police comprises around 3,500 personnel. All officers are firearms trained and roles include armed security, uniformed policing, crime investigation and policy development. The MoD Police also guard critical installations, large onshore gas pumping stations for example.
Comprising just over 4,000 personnel the MoD Guarding Agency carries out a guarding function at MoD sites.
The Sovereign Base Area Police Service covers policing duties for the Cyprus SBA.
Do We Have Enough Police?
As can be seen from the above, the roles of the various agencies and services overlap, of course each has a number of highly specialist roles. Each one will also have its own command staff, admin staff, photocopiers, computers and office chairs.
Is there too much duplication?
Is there room for consolidation and rationalisation?
What concerns me is that instead of looking at consolidation and removing expensive duplication we will simply cut posts and back fill them with soldiers/airman/sailors, endless hours of ‘stagging on’ might have been OK in the large conscript force of the fifties but with numbers at an all time low it is simply not acceptable today.