ARCHIVED - The Canadian Forces Military Police Group

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Backgrounder / April 1, 2011 / Project number: CFPM BG 11-01

The Canadian Forces Military Police Group (CF MP Gp) is a formation of the Canadian Forces that includes Military Police members employed in policing duties across the Canadian Forces. CF MP Gp Headquarters is located in Ottawa.

The CF MP Gp is comprised of the following subordinate units. A map of the locations of these units is available on the CFPM internet site at: http://www.vcds-vcemd.forces.gc.ca/cfpm-gpfc/cfp-ggp/map-carte-eng.asp

  • Land Force Military Police Group (LF MP Gp);
  • Air Force Military Police Group (AF MP Gp);
  • Naval Military Police Group (Naval MP Gp);
  • Military Police Unit Borden (MPU Borden);
  • Military Police Unit Ottawa (MPU Ottawa);
  • Special Operations Forces Military Police Unit (SOF MPU);
  • Military Police Services Group (MP Svcs Gp);
  • The CF National Investigation Service (CFNIS); and
  • The CF Military Police Academy (CFMPA).

The Canadian Forces Military Police

The Canadian Forces Military Police play an integral role in contributing to the effectiveness and readiness of the Canadian Forces (CF) by the provision of professional police, security, and operational support services in Canada and around the world. The Military Police (MP) is the only law enforcement agency that has both a policing and an operational role. MP members have the ability to investigate offences of both a service and criminal nature that occur on defence establishments or involve persons subject to the Code of Service Discipline. The over 2000 military personnel and civilian support personnel stationed in over 90 detachments across Canada and abroad carry out these functions independently of the chain of command and in cooperation with other civilian policing agencies.

Command and control

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM) is the CF MP Gp Commander, supported by the Deputy Commander who manages the day-to-day operations.

Land, Air, and Naval Military Police Groups and Military Police Units Borden, Ottawa and Special Forces

The MP groups and units for the environmental and other commands are mandated to provide policing services to their respective organizations across the country.

Military Police Services Group

The MP Services Group (MP Svcs Gp) is a MP formation with the mandate to provide MP operational support to CF operations, be they domestic, continental or expeditionary. The formation is comprised of a Headquarters (HQ) in Ottawa, and three subordinate units: the CF Protective Services Unit (CFPSU) located in Ottawa, the Military Police Security Service (MPSS), and the CF Service Prison and Detention Barracks (CFSPDB).

The CF Protective Services Unit

The CFPSU is a high-readiness, specialized and expert protective service organization capable of conducting a broad range of special protective missions and tasks at home and abroad in support of the Department of National Defence (DND) and CF missions. The CFPSU HQ is located in Ottawa.

The Military Police Security Service

The MPSS is, as a unit of the MP Svcs Gp, seconded to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The role of the MPSS is to provide security services to specific Canadian Foreign Missions and related properties under the direction of the appropriate Heads of Mission. These services include protection of classified and administratively controlled material and equipment, Canadian personnel and property. The performance of these duties includes the execution of instructions for the protection of Canadian Foreign Service Missions and their personnel in emergencies.

The MPSS employs over a hundred MP personnel. The MPSS personnel are located at the unit headquarters, in Ottawa, and at 49 Canadian Embassies, High Commissions, and Consulates around the world.

The first embassy to employ MP personnel as Military Security Guards was Beirut in 1976. The Military Security Guard Unit was declared an official unit of the CF in 1990, and was officially renamed the MPSS in 2009.

The CF Service Prison and Detention Barracks

Originally established as one of several military detention centres, the CFSPDB, located at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton, is now the sole, permanently-established, military corrections facility remaining in the CF. The roles of the CFSPDB include: the provision of imprisonment and detention services for CF service detainees, service prisoners and service convicts; the adjustment of detainees and prisoners to service discipline, and preparing them to resume an effective role in the CF; the return of prisoners to civilian life, where appropriate, with improved attitude and motivation; and the provision of subject matter expertise and guidance in support of CF disciplinary programmes and deployed prisoner of war/detainee operations.

Inmates at the CFSPDB serve sentences that range from 15-90 days of detention to sentences of imprisonment up to two years less a day. Inmates serving a sentence of 14 days detention, or less, may serve their sentence at a local Unit Detention Room.

The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

The CFNIS is an independent MP unit with the mandate to investigate serious and sensitive matters in relation to National Defence property, DND employees and CF personnel serving in Canada and around the world. The CFNIS has authority and jurisdiction over persons subject to the Code of Service Discipline, wherever they are established or deployed throughout the world, regardless of rank or status.

The unit is comprised of a small Headquarters in Ottawa, and seven permanent detachments, six regional detachments across Canada and a centrally located support detachment. On a major CF deployment, a detachment of the CFNIS may be established on a temporary basis.

Although they are located on military bases/wings, CFNIS personnel work independently from the normal military chain of command. Through their Commanding Officer, they receive direction and report directly to the CF MP Gp Commander.

Members of the CFNIS are selected from fully trained, experienced MP members who have completed various MP training and have been employed for at least one tour of duty as a MP on a Base or Wing. After selection, they undergo specialized training, depending on their positions, and also have to complete a one-year internship before operating as a full fledged investigator.

The CFNIS was established in 1997 and performs a function similar to that of a major crime unit of the RCMP or large municipal police agency. The CFNIS will investigate serious and sensitive matters alleged to have been committed on Defence establishments. Examples of the types of investigations conducted by the CFNIS include sexual offences, illicit drug offences, and fraud.

The CF Military Police Academy

The CFMPA, located in CFB Borden, is the professional home of the MP. It provides basic, advanced, and specialty training for all MP of both the Regular and Reserve Forces.  With a full-time staff of just over 50 personnel, training is conducted using a faculty system with instructors assigned to specific faculties such as Law, Investigative Techniques, Police Operations, Force Protection/Security, Use of Force, Information Management, and Leadership.

The CFMPA conducts a variety of career courses for Non-Commissioned Members of the MP including a basic course, junior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) course, senior NCO course, and Warrant Officers’ Course. In addition, it also conducts the MP Officer Course, which is the basic course for officers of the MP Branch. Specialized training offered at the CFMPA includes the MP Investigators Course and the Unit Security Supervisor Course.

History of the CF MP

The origins of the MP Branch itself can be traced back to June 15, 1940. On that date, the Canadian Provost Corps was formed within the Canadian Army. Lineage for Branches requires an unbroken existence, so the MP Branch goes back to the Canadian Provost Corps.

The Canadian Provost Corps, the Canadian Intelligence Corps, and navy and air force police, security and intelligence personnel were amalgamated to form the Security Branch on August 27, 1971.  Intelligence occupations were separated from the Branch on October 1, 1982 to form the Intelligence Branch, and the remaining components were redesignated the Canadian Forces Security Branch. The branch was redesignated the Military Police Branch on January 18, 2000.

History of the CF MP Gp

The CF MP Gp was established in November, 2007 to group MP units that did not otherwise belong to the environmental commands (Army, Navy and Air Force) or operational commands (Canada Command, Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, Canadian Operational Support Command, and Canada Special Operations Forces Command).

The CF MP Gp was then comprised of the following subordinate units in its original establishment:

  • The CF National Investigation Service (CFNIS);
  • The Military Police Security Service (MPSS);
  • The CF Service Prison and Detention Barracks (CFSPDB); and
  • The CF Military Police Academy (CFMPA).

On April 1, 2011, the CF MP Gp was restructured to its current establishment, with the environmental and operational commands policing assets now under the full command of the CF MP Gp Commander. The MPSS and the CFSPDB are now part of the MP Svcs Gp, while the CFNIS and CFMPA remain directly under the CF MP Gp structure.

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