Military police (MPs) are normally the police of a military organization.

Military police may refer to:

  • A section of the military solely responsible for policing the armed forces (referred to as provosts)

a section of the military responsible for policing in both the armed forces and in the civilian population (most gendarmeries, such as the French Gendarmerie) a section of the military solely responsible for policing the civilian population (such as the Romanian Gendarmerie) the civilian preventative police of a Brazilian state (Policia Militar) The status of military police is usually prominently displayed on the helmet and/or on an armband, brassard, or arm or shoulder flash. In the Second World War, the military police of the German Army still used a metal gorget as an emblem.

Naval police are sometimes called masters-at-arms.
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The Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command providing security coverage at the Padang in Singapore during the National Day Parade in 2000.

United States Edit

United States Marine Corps MP BadgeEach branch of the military of the United States maintains its own military police force:

  • Military Police Corps - United States Army
  • Provost Marshal's Office - United States Marine Corps
  • Masters-at-Arms branch (aided by temporary members of the Shore Patrol) - United States Navy
  • Air Force Security Forces (formerly called the Security Police and before that, the Air Police) - United States Air Force

Each service also maintains uniformed civilian police departments. They are referred to as Department of Defense Police (DoD Police). These police fall under each directorate they work for within the United States Department of Defense, for example: DoD Army or DoD Navy Police. There is in fact one United States Department of Defense police agency, the United States Pentagon Police, of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, are the police force of the Secretary of Defense and the federal police force for the Department of Defense, which includes The Pentagon and various other DoD locations within the National Capital Region (NCR). The Department of Defense Guard, Department of the Army (DA) Police, or Department of the Army Guard are examples of other DoD Army police. The police officers' duties are similar to those of local civilian police officers. They enforce the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Federal, State Laws and the regulations of their particular installation.

Criminal investigations in the United States Armed Forces are carried out by separate agencies:

  • Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) - Navy and Marine Corps
  • Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) - Air Force
  • United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) -Army
  • Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) - Coast Guard
  • The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is a civilian agency that answers directly to the DOD as well as the Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA).

The United States Constabulary was a gendarmerie force used to secure and patrol the American Zone of West Germany immediately after World War II.

Military police are trained to provide area security, usually by vehicle patrol, which is the mission of most military police stationed in Iraq. They are also trained in dealing with prisoners of war and other detainees, with special training in restraining, searching, and transporting prisoners to detainee camps. MPs can also be used as prison guards in detainee camps, although that responsibility usually falls on Internment/Resettlement Specialists, MOS 31E (Formerly Corrections Specialists).

=== Limitation of authority and jurisdiction ===
180px-USMC MP

United States military police are prohibited from enacting state police powers and domestic peace officer powers under the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law passed in 1878. MPs may enforce certain limited powers, such as traffic stops, on access roads and other federal property not necessarily within the boundaries of their military base or installation. The only way MPs are allowed to enforce law and order outside of the military realm as stated above is when martial law is in effect. When combined, the Posse Comitatus Act and Insurrection Act place significant limits on presidential power to use the military in a law enforcement capacity. This allows the state more time to use their resources and authorities to the fullest extent, allowing for the possibility of military involvement only when their resources have been completely used up.

The Posse Comitatus Act applies specifically to the U.S. Army (and, by extension the U.S. Air Force which evolved from a service of the Army under the National Security Act of 1947). The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are not included in the statute but the Department of the Navy (which oversees both services) adopted the statute by regulation.

The only military forces exempt from the act are the United States Coast Guard, as their mission includes maritime law enforcement duties; State National Guard troops under state authority and state defense forces, which are state troops serving under the governor and may be assigned enforcement support duties. The Alaska State Guard has a Military Police section, who are state constables.

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