Thursday, October 9, 2014

Army 2020 structures: Royal Military Police and Security Assistance Group

Royal Military Police

Under Army 2020, the Royal Military Police is being reorganized and restructured to a streamlined ORBAT which introduces a 1-star, brigade HQ (1st Military Police Brigade) controlling 3 military police regiments, a Special Investigation Branch regiment and a Specialist Operations Unit Regiment.

The new structure is obtained by disbanding 5th Regiment RMP; by bringing back to the UK the 1st Regiment RMP from Germany; disbanding a number of companies and resubordinating several others to form homogeneous, larger integrated regiments all formed by 2 regular and 1 reserve companies. The Specialist Operations Unit regiment is a new formation to stand up in Longmoor to group together under a unified command a number of specialist formations: the Close Protection Unit that provides VVIP escorts, the Service Police Crime Bureau and the Operational Support Unit.
The official summary of the changes to the RMP, MPS and MPGS under Army 2020 reports:

For the RMP, Army 2020 will result in:

  • the creation of the 1st Military Police Brigade (1 MP Bde) consisting of an optimized 1 star Headquarters, shaped from the existing HQ PM(A) allowing PM(A) to exercise command more effectively;
  • three identically structured RMP Regiments (1st, 3rd and 4th Regiments) fully integrated to maximise the utility of the Provost Reserves with fewer, but larger and more capable Regular and Reserve Provost Companies and larger Regimental Headquarters;
  • an integrated RMP SIB Regiment with a small RMP SIB Reserve element and with a new deployable capability to meet the requirement of contingency; and
  • a new RMP Specialist Operations Unit, which groups existing, but disparate, specialised capabilities (the Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB), the Close Protection Unit (CPU) and the Operational Support Unit (OSU)), and allows for the appropriate depth of command so that the delivery of scarce and highly skilled niche specialist capabilities, such as Cyber-Crime and covert policing, can be better managed while also interacting in the national policing landscape at home.

For the MPS, Army 2020 means:

  • an increased Regular MPS capability to number 191 personnel (up from 106 personnel) together with an enduring Reserve component;
  • in future Tier-1 Service Custody Facilities (SCF) in Garrisons will be manned by MPS, along with the Tier-2 The Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC). The aim is to professionalise and optimise Firm Base custody thereby increasing surety; and
  • an enlarged MPS better able to meet future contingency capability by drawing across the whole MPS structure to deploy personnel to man Tier-3 Operational Facilities.

The Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS)was not included in the Army 2020 process, much work continues in parallel at HQ PM(A) as a number of Military sites are closed, security levels are reviewed and new bases are opened. Inevitably this will lead to some re-complimenting of MPGS personnel. However the significant contribution made by the MPGS to the Armed Services is recognised and appreciated across Defence and I am certain that this capability will continue to grow.

Changes to the RMP structure have begun and are being implemented, and more visible changes will take place in the coming months as 1st RMP Regiment HQ moves out of Germany and into Catterick in December.
111 Provost Company, part of 1st RMP Regiment, has already been disbanded as part of the reductions of the british presence in Germany. 114 Provost Company will also disband, while 110 Provost Company will transfer from Germany to Leuchars during 2015.
Once the transfers and disbandments are completed, 1st Regiment RMP will have taken command of 150 Provost Company (transferring from 3rd Regiment RMP during 2015) and of the 243 (Reserve) Provost Company.

The HQ of the Military Police brigade will be based in Andover, and is planned to stand up on 1st December 2014. The head of the brigade will be the Provost Marshal (Army), and to preserve investigative independence of the police, OPCON will be in the hands of the Chief of General Staff. The brigade will be under the tactical command of Force Troops Command for non-investigative tasks.

The end state of the RMP regiments is as follows:

1st Regiment RMP (Catterick)
150 Provost Coy (Catterick)
110 Provost Company (last in Germany, will move into Leuchars)
243 Provost Company (Reserve) [includes 2 Platoon in Lisburn]

3rd Regiment RMP (Bulford)
158 Provost Company (Bulford)
174 Provost Company – Donnington
116 Provost Company (Reserve)

4th Regiment RMP (Aldershot)
156 Provost Company (Air Assault) (Colchester)  [comes into the regiment 1st December 2014]
160 Provost Company (Aldershot)
253 Provost Company (Reserve)

156 Provost Company is currently independent as it is the only air assault RMP unit, and is assigned directly to 16 Air Assault Brigade. This independence will formally end on 1st December this year, when the company resubordinates under 4th Regiment RMP.

The Provost Companies are working to a renewed three platoons structure, particularly important in the case of 156 Provost Company as it supports the constant generation of one platoon at High Readiness and air assault ready, to be attached to the Air Assault Task Force. Each RMP company has one “operations” platoon supporting the parent brigade, one platoon engaged in policing the assigned area of the UK and the garrison, and one platoon in training. The three platoons rotate across all three roles.
For 156 Provost Company, the operations platoon is a formation of 28 men held at High Readiness in support of the Air Assault Task Force generated by 16 Air Assault Brigade.
The one exception is the Royal Marines Police Troop, which has links to the RMP but remains an integral part of 30 Commando IX. The Troop is 38 strong, and has to generate police capability for the Royal Marines battlegroup at readiness.

The Special Investigation Branch Regiment includes 5 Investigation companies covering the whole of the UK, with Investigation sections distributed all over the territory and into the main garrisons. It is not yet clear if the number of companies will change, but the force will integrate 83, 84 and 85 SIB Sections, made up of reservists.

The brigade also includes the Military Provost Staff Regiment, including the Military Corrective Training Centre (in Colchester) and the regional Service Custody Facilities.  

No change has been announced so far for the Defence College of Policing and Guarding (DCPG) at Southwick Park, which delivers training for the police branches of all three the services. 

Security Assistance Group

The SAG is being formed at Denison Barracks, Hermitage, as a 1-star command bringing coherence to the management of information and media activities and Stabilisation Support Capabilities of the Army. It should indeed have officially formed on 1st September. The HQ comprises 16 officers, 16 SNCO and 9 other ranks, and controls:

-          Media Operations Group
-          Security and Capability Building Team
-          15 Psychological Operations Group (15 POG)
-          Military Stabilisation Support Group (MSSG)

The MSSG numbers 20 officers and 40 ORs and has been moved into Hermitage. The 15 POG is expected to move into new infrastructure in the barracks during 2016, but the plan for the building and upgrading of the infrastructure for the group hasn’t yet been finalized.

In the future, the Defence Cultural Specialisation Unit (DCSU) and the Security Group Military Intelligence are expected to move into Hermitage as well. The barracks are also planned to house 73 Military Intelligence Company and the Land Intelligance Fusion Centre.

Hermitage, up to this summer, used to be the home base of 42 (Geographic) Engineer Regiment, but this regiment has now completed its move to new infrastructure in the Joint Forces base Wyton. Hermitage for the moment remains the base of the Royal School of Military Survey, but a plan has been prepared to move the school to Wyton as well, and indeed to complete the migration of the whole Defence Geographic Centre to new infrastructure in the Joint Forces base. The move of the school is unlikely to happen before the summer of 2017 in order not to disrupt training, and the DGC transfer will only be completed by around 2018. 


  1. Can you please provide links or references? Where did you hear the information from?

  2. They are simply numbered 1 to 5, as far as i know. Nothing special.

  3. Where are your sources for the SAG?


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