History of MP School

Reference: History of Provost Marshal Directorate HQ AMF 1939, AWM 54 803/1/1 and current Australian MP School (Defence Policing Training Centre - DPTC) 2005

Researched by Antony Buckingham, MP History Website

Prior to 1968 the Australian Army Military Police never had a permanent training school or facility as a Corps home for training of Military Police.

However, during WW2, with the raising and expansion of an Australian Military Police Corps (Australian Army Provost Corps) the need for formal and structured Provost (Military Police) training was required. As the Australian Army raised for war so too did the MP; however formalised training proved difficult especially in relation to providing instructors, doctrine and the selection of suitable students.  

In Australia during 1939/40, the Provost Marshal laid down a syllabus of training which was rarely carried out owing to the immediate pressure of having to police large numbers of soldiers in training and leave areas throughout Australia resulting in many MP personnel performing their duties with little knowledge of what was required of them.

As the Australian 6th Division was raised and deployed to the Middle East in late 1940 it was identified that most units including the MP were poorly trained for their duties after having been raised so quickly. To alleviate this, a Services Training Regiment was opened in Palestine in 1941 including a provost Wing.  Drawn chiefly from 6 Div Base Units, the intake was most irregular, but the Wing proved of great value in keeping Provost Companies to strength. Heavy losses in Greece and Crete and the raising of two additional L of C Provost Companies absorbed all trained personnel. The Services Training Regiment including the Provost Wing was disbanded upon the return of the 6 Div to Australia in 1943.

By 1941, Provost training cadres were opened in Victoria and New South Wales and whilst helpful it was found that many volunteers were unsuitable both in character and education/intelligence abilities. By 1942, the LHQ Provost Training School was opened and upon its movement to Darley, Victoria, the Cadres in Victoria and NSW were disbanded.

Early in 1943 the LHQ Provost Training School was reorganised into HQ and No.1 and No.2 Wings. Students for No.1 Wing were drawn from Officers and SNCO of the Provost Companies and the six weeks course of higher training did much to raise the standard of Company training on their return to their Units. Attendance and qualifying at this course was a pre-requisite for NCOs selected for attendance at OCTU. Students for NO.2 Wing were drawn from the Provost Companies and comprised men who had been enlisted directly into Provost Units, then as courses commenced were drafted to the School for more intense training. Junior NCOs in need of refresher training also attended this Wing.

As the Australian Army prepared for war in the Pacific, it was identified that further Provost units would be required and a large scale recruiting drive was conducted in 1943 resulting in 535 personnel drafted to the Corps. The standard of training at the School was very high with much assistance given by lecturers from other Arms of the Service, and the Melbourne University on teaching methods.

A minute by the Provost Marshal, Colonel Murphy dated 23 January 1943 highlights the problems:

The training of Provost personnel is at present carried out by:

  1. Army Provost School Williamstown for Officers and SNCOs - Advanced Course
  2. Provost Training Company (NSW), training recruits for 1 Australia Army, 2 Australia Army, QLD L of C and NSW L of C.
  3. Provost Training Company (VIC) training recruits for 3 Australia Corps, VIV L of C, SA L of C, WA L of C, Tasmania Force and NT Force.

The number of students in (b) and (c) is at present short of the estimates, viz NSW estimates 240, in training 109 and VIC estimate 240, in training 44.

The WE for Army Provost School is 2 Officers and 27 ORs and for each Provost Training Company is 2 and 43, giving a total combined staff of 6 Officers and 113 ORs.

It is considered that one central LHQ Provost Training School should be set up in Victoria with wings for training.

  1. Officers and NCOs (potential officers)
  2. Reinforcements for Provost Units
  3. Detention Barracks Staff and Train Security Section
  4. Regimental Police

There are 29 Provost Companies, 3 Brigade Group Platoons and 1 Provost Section (Torres Forces) in the Commonwealth, together with 9 Sections as Train Security Guards. There are also 3 Provost Companies in the Middle East ( 9 Div, 2 and 3 L of C). The standard of training and efficiency of these units varies greatly particularly in L of C areas.

Assuming that the Officers and NCOs passing through LHQ Provost Training School represents the more highly trained personnel of their units, experience leads to the conclusion that practically all units would benefit by being withdrawn for a period of say 4 weeks for intensive training.

It was anticipated that a reasonable proportion of the personnel passing through LHQ Provost School would return to their Units fitted to act as skilled instructors, but the conclusion has been forced upon me after closely observing the Cadres engaged on 6 weeks course, that their lack of knowledge has obliged the CI to direct practically all his energies to imparting essential instruction, and methods of teaching has perforce taken a secondary place.

It is felt that the only real solution of the training problem, so far as it applies to personnel at present with the Provost Units, is to devise some scheme under which a Company will be withdrawn as suggested. To enable this to be done consideration might be given to withdrawing one Company from Middle East to act as a relief Company.

An alternative proposal not possessing the same degree of merit, is to withdraw say 3 or 4 from each Provost Unit to form a relief Company under selected Officers. The Company withdrawn for training will pass into the Provost Training School, and not be trained under L of C of Formation arrangements.

By 1944, USA Military Police attended each Provost Course and derived great benefit especially in co-operation between these two Provost Services. The training received by all ranks at the School was invaluable to the efficiency of the Provost Corps and contributed towards the great work the Corps conducted throughout WW2.

At the end of WW2 in 1945, the LHQ Provost Training School was disbanded as the transition to peace occurred and there was no permanent training school raised or maintained inside Australia for training of post war Military Police.

With Australia's contribution to the Occupation of Japan (BCOF Japan), and lack of suitably trained MPs a Provost Wing of the BCOF Training School (Japan) was established in 1947 for training of BCOF Provosts of Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Indian Provosts. The School was maintained for about 2 or 3 years before the wind down of Australian troops to BCOF in 1952.

After WW2 and during the 1950s, training of Provost personnel was undertaken by individual Provost Units based within Australia. During the 1960s, the home of the Corps was considered to be the Eastern Command Provost Company at Watsons Bay or 'South Head' as it was known to Corps members. In 1968, the Royal Australian Army Provost School was established at Gallipoli Lines, Holsworthy, NSW, Australia.

In January 1974, the Provost Training Centre was renamed the MP School and relocated to Ingleburn to form part of the MP Complex (co-located with 2 MP Coy and 1st Military Correction Establishment). This coincided with the renaming of the Royal Australian Army Provost Corps to the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police (RACMP). The MP Complex was opened as Coral Lines by the Colonel Commandant RACMP, Major General C.M.I. Pearson, AO, DSO, OBE, MC in June 1974.

On 12 June 1983, Coral Lines was renamed to Lamia Lines. 'Lamia' being a small town in Greece through which the 16th Australian Infantry Brigade, 7th Australian Division conducted a fighting withdrawal in April 1941. During this action MP performed their duties under fire with courage and professionalism. It was during this action that Captain J. W. Grimshaw, Australian Army Provost Corps, was awarded the Military Cross for leadership and bravery.

In December 1989, the MP Complex was renamed the MP Centre. On 13 April 1992, the MP Centre units, including the Defence Force Corrective Establishment (DFCE), the Directorate of Military Police (DMP), HQ Army Special Investigation Branch (SIB) Unit, 2 MP Coy and MP School relocated to Green Hills, Liverpool Military Area. The MP Centre was opened as Lamia Barracks by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Major General A. J. Fittock, AO on 1 July 1992.

In February 1994, as a consequence of the 1993 Review into the RACMP, the Army SIB Unit was disbanded, the MP Central Records Office (MPCRO) formed part of DMP and the MP School SIB Training Section was renamed the Investigations Training Section.

On 16 December 1996, DFCE was transferred from the Base Logistic Sub-Program to Training Command - Army (TC-A) and was incorporated within the MP School.

On 1 July 1997, as a consequence of the Restructuring the Army Program DMP was transferred to TC-A. On 1 December 1997, DMP elements combined with the MP School (including DFCE) to form the Military Police Training Centre (MPTC).

On 15 December 1997, the Commandant (COMDT) MPTC was appointed as the Provost Marshal-Army (PM-A) by the Deputy Chief of the Army. MPCRO and the ACT MP Det remain under command to assist with the performance of PM-A responsibilities.

On 6 January 1999, the MPTC was renamed the Army Military Police Training Centre (AMPTC).

In Jan 2001 the 1st Military Police Battalion was formed and the MPCRO was transferred to the Battalion to provide criminal investigative records support.

On 27 June 2003 AMPTC joined with SNPCS (Security and Naval Police Coxswain School - Royal Australian Navy formerly known as Naval Police) to form the Defence Police Training Centre.

The Defence Police Training Centre (DPTC) is located at Lamia Barracks, Green Hills Road, Green Hills, Liverpool Military Area and continues to train all Military Police.