History of the Canadian Military Police Branch
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Policing Canada’s Military since 1917
The Canadian Military Police Branch can trace its roots to the formation of the Canadian Military Police Corps (CMPC), which was authorized on September 15th, 1917 by Militia General Orders 93 & 94. The initial establishment was set at 30 Officers and 820 Warrant Officers and NCOs within 13 detachments, designated No. 1 through No. 13.
Only trained soldiers were to be selected and they were required to serve a one month probationary period before being transferred. Applicants were required to have exemplary service records. The CMPC School was formed at Rockcliffe near Ottawa in June, 1918. The first commanding officer of the school was Major Baron Osborne. The basic course was of three weeks duration. Upon successful completion of the course, Privates were promoted to Lance Corporal. The Canadian Military Police Corps was disbanded on December 1st, 1920. The Canadian Provost Corps (C Pro C) was formed on June 15th, 1940, under the authority of Privy Council Order 67/3030. It originally consisted of No.1 Company (RCMP) and No. 2 Provost Company which was formed in early 1940 as part of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division.
The Royal Air Force, Canada (RAFC) was formed in 1918 and an Assistant Provost Marshal was appointed in Toronto on February 1st of that year. Initially, there were approximately 30 Royal Air Force NCOs and airmen on his staff. This number was soon increased to 50, and two officers were appointed as Deputy Assistant Provost Marshals. The RCAF Police had its beginnings in March 1940 when Group Captain M.M. Sisley was appointed as the first Provost Marshal of the RCAF. Originally called the Guards and Discipline Branch, the name was changed a year later to the Directorate of Provost and Security Services (DPSS). The DPSS was subdivided into two branches: Police and Security. These branches supplied gate and perimeter security for airfields and installations, and conducted disciplinary patrols. During the Second World War, RCAF Police were known as RCAF Service Police (SP).
Post WW II, but prior to unification of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), the security and police functions were conducted quite differently by the three Services. The Army divided the responsibility for security and security incidents between the Canadian Intelligence Corps (C Int C) and C Pro C and field inquiries were conducted by the Security Sections of the C Int C. The police functions of the C Pro C involved the provision and supervision of guards, the operation of Service Detention barracks and investigation of service and criminal offences. The Air Force Police (AFP) had the dual responsibility of performing both police and security duties and were under the command of the base on which they served.
Security in the RCN was the responsibility of the Assistant Director Naval Intelligence who reported to the Director of Naval Headquarters. With the exception of a very small group of professional Policing Canada’s Military since 1917 security officers, naval security officers were primarily Intelligence Officers or officers assigned security duties as a secondary responsibility. The navy had no police organization comparable to the C Pro C or the AFP but relied upon Dockyard Police, Corps of Commissionaires, local Civil Police and shore patrols to maintain security of establishments and maintenance of discipline. Field inquiries in support of the security program were conducted by the RCMP.
The initial amalgamation of all police and security elements of the CF was first effected in October 1964 by the formation of the Directorate of Security at Canadian Forces Headquarters. With the introduction of the forces Functional Command structure in April 1966, the security staffs and PMs in existing single service command organizations were eliminated, the command and base security officers were appointed at the newly formed HQs and the various investigative elements of the Services were amalgamated into a single organization called the Special Investigation Unit (SIU). To achieve a common approach throughout the forces, security and police functions were regrouped into three main categories: (1) personnel security, (2) police and custody, and (3) security of information and materiel. A single trade of Military Police was created which replaced five trades that previously existed and provided standards for the training required of all non-commissioned members employed in the police and security field. In June 1966, Major General Turcot was directed to examine the role, organization and responsibility for Security in the CF and to make recommendations for any revisions.
At the time of the TURCOT report, there existed two philosophies in the Police, Intelligence and Security organizations. The Director General Intelligence (DGI) saw a distinction between Police and Security but with a closer relationship between Security and Intelligence. The Chief of Personnel saw the Police and Security functions as complimentary. The TURCOT report, completed on 22 July 1966 directed that the responsibility for Security should be placed under the DGI. In January 1967, the CDS directed DGI to undertake a management analysis with a view to recommending the future management system for Intelligence, Security and Military Police in the Canadian Armed Forces.
This study became known as the PIQUET report. The DGI Working Group submitted its study in March 1967 in which it was concluded that security/intelligence/police should be managed as an entity under a Directorate General Intelligence and Security in the VCDS Branch. The new Branch was to be named the Security Branch, which officially was created on 1 February 1968. The recommendations of the PIQUET Study were implemented by the CDS on 3 May 1967 and by 1968, the Officer specifications were in draft form and included five sub-classifications: Military Police, Investigation, Intelligence, Imagery Interpretation and Interrogation. With the formation of a unified Branch came a need to replace the previous corps and service badges and the use of the Indian Totemic Thunderbird as the symbol for the Security Branch arose out of the recommendations of the Insignia Steering Group appointed by DGI on 15 May 1967. In 1970, the Branch unofficially deleted the Military Police sub-classification at the officer level since the Basic Officer Specifications included all the tasks of the sub-classification. In effect, the Branch had adopted a four subclassification structure. Therefore, between 1971 and 1974, the new Security Services Basic Officer course was the Branch qualifying course and consisted of 84 days devoted to police/security instruction and 3 days to Intelligence subjects.
In June 1975, the Director Military Occupational Structures (DMOS) issued a draft occupational analysis report on the Sec 81 classification in which it was found that the activities performed by Sec(Int) officers bore little resemblance to those performed by Sec(MP) officers. The Branch was restructured into two classifications vice the five sub-classifications that existed at the time. By August 1975 after another review, DGIS rejected the idea of two separate classifications within one Security Branch and proposed one classification for Police and one for Intelligence. After 1976, training and employment of Security Branch Officers was in consonance with the dual structure of the Branch and proved superior to the pre-1975 approaches. The dual structure also formalized and clearly defined the uniqueness of the Police and Intelligence functions and institutionalized the security function in the police side of the structure as had been the RCAF practice. In 1978, the CRAVEN Report, proposed that ADM(PER) separate the CF Police and Intelligence personnel comprising the unified Security Branch and reorganize them independently into a structured Security Branch and a new Intelligence Branch. Following further studies, discussions and recommendations, DGIS concurred with the CRAVEN Report and on 3 December 1981 the CDS directed that separate Security and Intelligence Branches each containing the applicable officer classification and trade be established, with an implementation target date of 1 October 1982. On 29 October 1982, a ceremony was held at the Canadian Forces School of Intelligence and Security (CFSIS) which inaugurated the new Intelligence Branch and rededicated the Security Branch.
Following the recommendations in the report by former Chief Justice Brian Dickson, a new era has been inaugurated for the Military Police Branch with the creation of; the National Investigation Service, the National Counter Intelligence Unit and the reestablishment of the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.
Currently, members of the Military Police Branch, serve on every base and station of the Canadian Forces in Canada, as well as with the various regiments and battalions. MP also serve at RMC Kingston, JTF 2 and JTFN Yellowknife. MP continue to serve in support of deployed operations, with a significant presence in TF Afghanistan. Outside Canada locations also include the NATO E3A component in Geilenkirchen, Germany, 45 Embassies and High Commissions with the Military Police Security Guard Unit, CFSU Europe and Shape Casteau Belgium.
In November 2007 a ceremony officially recognized the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal assuming command of the Canadian Forces Military Police Group. This new CF Formation is comprised of the CFNIS, MSGU, CFSPDB and CFMPA. Today, the Military Police Branch is comprised of approximately 2,230 members total, inclusive of Reserve members.