The Ministry of Defence Police
(MDP) is a civilian police force that is part of the Ministry of Defence
. The force is part of the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency
which was formed by the merger of the MDP and Ministry of Defence Guard Service
(MGS) on April 1st, 2004.
The MDP is a non-Home Office police force. It is responsible for providing Police, Investigative and Guarding services to Ministry of Defence property and installations throughout the United Kingdom. The MDP has approximately 3,500 police officers based at 110 police units at 86 locations across the United Kingdom.
The Ministry of Defence Police was formed in 1971 by the merger of three civil constabularies, the Air Force Department Constabulary
(AFDC), previously under the control of the Air Ministry
, The Army Department Constabulary
(ADC), previously under the control of the War Office
, and the Admiralty Constabulary
, previously under the control of the Admiralty
These earlier Constabularies had been formed as a result of the Special Constables Act 1923 although their histories can be traced back much further as watchmen. As such, their powers had come from different legislative sources. In 1984 the House of Commons Defence Select Committee recognised the difficulties under which the Ministry of Defence Police were operating and the Broadbent Committee's recommendations led to the passing of the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987.
is a civil police
service. Unlike most British police
forces it is not responsible for policing a geographic county or area. Instead it is responsible for Law enforcement
of land, property, and personnel of the Ministry of Defence (and paying customers of the MDPGA
) throughout the United Kingdom. All MDP
officers are attested as constables
in England and Wales
and Northern Ireland
, having full constabulary powers on MOD land. The MDP gets its powers from the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987, as amended by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
. MDP officers also have full powers of a constable outside of the Ministry of Defence estate in limited and defined circumstances, usually used when asked for assistance from their Home Office
force colleagues and in emergency situations as defined by the amendments made by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. Their jurisdiction is not the same as Home Office force officers and officers from this force do not generally become involved in the day to day policing of the general public.
The MDP has its own Chief Constable
, who also serves as the Chief Executive (CE) of the MOD Police and Guarding Agency. The MDP uses the standard British police rank structure
and since 1995 its headquarters has been based at the former United States Air Force
base at RAF Wethersfield
, now designated as MDPGA Wethersfield. It works closely with the Service police organisations, namely the Royal Military Police
, Royal Air Force Police
, Royal Navy Regulating Branch
, and Royal Marines Police
The MDP was restructured in 2003 into five land-based Divisions: Scottish Division, Northern Division, Western Division, AWE Division and South East Division. Each Division is commanded by a Chief Superintendent and has its own CID and Divisional Support Group (DSG), which is able to respond at short notice to any unforeseen incident or emergency.
The MDP is responsible for policing the Defence Estate within the United Kingdom and also provides armed front line security at many defence installations throughout the UK.
The MDP once had a presence at 120 Ministry of Defence sites, such as the Royal Arsenal; munitions and storage depots; housing estates; US Air Force Bases (on a reimbursement basis); Royal Ordnance Factories; Defence Research Establishments; and the Royal Mint. The end of both the Cold War and The Troubles in Northern Ireland, along with the subsequent closure of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, and the privatisation of entities such as the Royal Ordnance Factories reduced the number of sites that need an MOD Police presence.
Uniform and armament
The uniform worn by its officers is identical to that of the Metropolitan Police Service
, apart from insignia. All officers are trained to use firearms and about 70% are armed at any one time. MDP Officers were armed with the SA80
assault rifle, H&K MP5, and the Browning 9mm pistol but in March 2005 they began transitioning to the Heckler & Koch MP7
weapon which is currently in use now., a smaller weapon falling into the Personal defence weapon
The force has the largest marine support unit and dog section of any of the police forces in the UK. The marine support units are responsible for the waterborne security of Her Majesty's Dockyards and HM Naval Bases. At HMNB Clyde
, it shares this role with the Royal Navy's own security unit, the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
. Although only constituting 1.5% of the national police force, the MDP has 8% of the national CBRN
(Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear) response capability.
The 400 dog handlers utilise explosive, drug, and general purpose dogs. The Special Escort Group protects nuclear materials in transit between MOD establishments. The MDP also has a small Criminal Investigation Department (CID) with offices spread around the UK. The CID investigates 'Serious' crime involving persons subject to the Service discipline, dependent Service families, employees of the MOD and contractors to the MOD.
The Fraud Squad investigates fraud in MOD programmes. The Operational Support Unit is a 50-strong rapid response unit which is tasked with VIP personal protection, public order and anti-terrorist search duties.
Other MoD Police forces
The Ministry of Defence also has responsibility for two other civilian police forces:
Officers from both these forces occasionally attend courses at the MoD Police Agency Training College at Wethersfield, Essex. In June 2005 officers from the GSP marine unit gave assistance to the MoD Police marine unit at Portsmouth during the Trafalgar 200 celebrations.
The MDP has also provided police for the Pitcairn Islands from c2000.
In recent years the MDP have also provided officers to the United Nations Police in many locations around the world including Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Sudan. At the present time, approximately 90 MDP officers are deployed overseas, with the largest numbers in Kosovo and Iraq. The MDP have recently provided training at the Baghdad Police Training Academy