The Royal Australian Corps of Military Police (RACMP)

The Military Policeman of Today

  What does the Military Police do?

The Royal Australian Corps of Military Police (RACMP) is a small, highly trained and professional Army Corps providing discipline, policing and criminal investigation support to the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in peace, crisis and conflict anywhere in the world. On the battlefield the Military Police provide commanders with discipline, policing and criminal investigation support, conducting route reconnaissance, route signing, controlling and monitoring traffic, enforcing traffic regulations and movement priority, controlling military stragglers and the movement of the civilian population. Military Police also provide support to logistic operations and provide physical and personal security. Military Police are responsible for the internment and detention of captured persons including their collection, processing and registration in accordance with international, host nation and Australian law requirements. Military Police also conduct battlefield forensic exploitation of operational areas, captured equipment and weapons, biometrics and blast damage remains.

As the Army recruits from every part of society, the types of crime dealt with by the RACMP are the same as those handled by their civilian counterparts, although, there is an important difference in that the RACMP police a smaller, far more disciplined population, aged in the main between 18 and 27 years. Similarly, re-offence is minimal because, following conviction by a court martial for a serious crime (civil or military) the offender is usually expelled from the Army.

What does ADFIS stand for?

ADFIS stands for the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service. It is a tri-service unit comprising Defence investigators from the Navy, Army and Airforce. Army’s contribution to ADFIS is RACMP personnel who specialise in the investigation of the more serious and complex military criminal, disciplinary and civil offences.

ADFIS is the equivalent of any civil police detective department often referred to as the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Just like the CID, ADFIS investigators usually work in plain clothes and their role is to investigate and detect the more serious crimes committed against or by Army or Defence personnel. That means gathering evidence to support the prosecution or Defence personnel who, have broken civil and/or military laws. ADFIS also investigates serious non-criminal matters such as the leaking of confidential/secret information, unacceptable behavior/conduct and other matters as directed by Army and Defence HQ.

What’s an average day like for an ADFIS MP?

Each day will present new challenges, but typically an ADFIS MP will be working on between five and ten cases at any one time. A "case" can last from one day to two years. Preparing a case file and conducting an investigation will involve the following: collating and preparing evidence, preparing and holding interviews with witnesses and suspects, collecting and recording forensic evidence, transcription of taped interviews, updating the Army’s version of a Police National Computer system, writing reports and attending the Australian Military Court or unit "orderly rooms" to give evidence.

RACMP in 2014?

RACMP comprises the following units:

1st Military Police Battalion (1 MP Bn)

1 MP Bn is the operational/deployable, Military Police unit capable of conducting operations throughout Australia and overseas in support of Australian Army units. 1 MP Bn also retains specialist MP personnel who further qualify as bodyguards or dog handlers. There is only one Military Police Battalion in the Australian Army.

Domestic Policing Unit (DPU)

DPU is the Australian Army’s domestic policing unit responsible for barracks policing of Army units/areas. It does not have an overseas role.

Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS)

ADFIS is a tri-service unit, the Army component coming from RACMP qualified investigators. Service in 1 MP Bn or DPU is required before qualification as an Investigator and posting to the unit. ADFIS personnel are continuously deployed throughout the world in support of Australian Army and Australian Defence Force operations.

Defence Police Training Centre (DPTC)

Selected members of RACMP, mainly NCO and Officers are posted to DPTC as instructors to train MP personnel.

Defence Force Corrective Establishment (DFCE)

DFCE is the Australian Defence Force’s, correctional facility established to house Defence personnel who have been given a corrective punishment for serious breaches of military law/discipline offences. Members of RACMP are posted to DFCE as Instructors/corrections officers. DFCE is not a jail; should a Defence member be found guilty of a serious criminal offence and punished with a custodial penalty they will be discharged from the ADF to serve their sentence in a civil jail.

Office of the Provost Marshal Army (OPM-A)

Members of RACMP are posted to the OPM-A to assist the Provost Marshal Army in maintaining discipline and good order throughout the Australian Army at home and overseas. 

For a brief overview of RACMP tasks, click here: RACMP "Tasks"