The Military Police

The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal

The CAF Military Police Branch was formed in 1968 with the unification of the CAF. Military Police members were allocated to the Army, Navy and Air Force. The stated Mission of the CAF Military Police is to contribute to the effectiveness and readiness of the CAF and the DND through the provision of professional police, security and operational support services worldwide.

The Military Police Branch is comprised of 2,061 personnel: 437 reservists and 1,624 regular force who are sworn, credentialed members (officers and noncommissioned members). Credentialed members are those members who are entitled to be in possession of a Military Police member badge and identification card and thus are peace officers by virtue of article 22.02 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders, section 156 of the NDA and section 2 of the Criminal Code.

The Military Police exercise jurisdiction within the CAF over both DND employees and civilians on DND property. The Military Police form an integral part of the military justice system in much the same way as civilian police act within the civilian criminal justice system. Military Police routinely train and work with their civilian counterparts in the provision of police and security services to the CAF and the DND.

Members of the Military Police are granted certain powers under the NDA in order to fulfill their policing duties. For example, Military Police members have the power to arrest, detain and search. The Criminal Code recognizes members of the Military Police as peace officers. Therefore, they can make arrests and lay charges in civilian criminal courts. Additionally, Military Police members posted to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) can also lay charges under the NDA's Code of Service Discipline.

Overview of the Military Police

The Military Police provide a variety of operational, law enforcement, investigative and security services at Bases and Units across Canada and throughout the world, wherever the Canadian Armed Forces serve.

There are currently more than 2,000 Military Police members in the Canadian Armed Forces, approximately 1,400 of whom are sworn peace officers. They exercise policing jurisdiction within the Forces, and over all persons on DND property. The remaining 650 Military Police are members of the Reserve Force (who are usually not sworn peace officers).

Military Police form an integral part of the military justice system in much the same way civilian police act within the civil and criminal justice system. They routinely train and work with their civilian counterparts in the provision of police and security services to the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence.

Members of the Military Police are appointed under regulations for the purposes of National Defence Act section 156 and, as such, are awarded certain powers in order to fulfill their policing duties. For example, Military Police have the power to arrest, detain, and search without regard to rank.

The Criminal Code of Canada recognizes Military Police members as peace officers. They have the same powers of search, seizure and arrest as civilian police and they can lay charges in civilian criminal courts. Military Police members posted to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service additionally can lay charges under the Code of Service Discipline of the National Defence Act (an authority otherwise reserved to the military chain of command).

Military Police 80th Anniversary

We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that the year 2020 marked the 80th anniversary of the genesis of the modern Canadian Military Police.

While the military policing function has been part of Canada’s military heritage going back to early colonial times, the first nationally organized Military Police structure within the Canadian military was created in 1917 during World War I. Members of what was then known as the Canadian Military Police Corps (CMPC) served with considerable distinction during very challenging operations both overseas and domestically. The CMPC was, however, largely disbanded in the 1920s, following the end of the war.

After the outbreak of World War II, the Canadian military established the Canadian Provost Corps on June 15, 1940. Initially comprised of members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Provost Corps soon recruited qualified applicants from the Army, particularly those with civilian police experience. The Provost Corps provided a full spectrum of military policing to the Canadian Army during and after the war. The Canadian Provost Corps became the basis of unified, inter-service Military Police trade established in the 1960s. The current Military Police trace their beginning to the establishment of the Provost Corps in 1940.

In the intervening 80 years, the Canadian Military Police has contributed to Canadian military missions of a combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian nature, at locations throughout the world. Their unique training and skill set has served Canadians by providing military force security, supporting field operations, enforcing military discipline and upholding the rule of law. They continue to carry out these important duties every day, and we salute them for this. In acknowledging and applauding the proud history of the Canadian Military Police, we at the MPCC take renewed inspiration and commitment to our own mandate of helping to support public confidence in military policing through independent oversight.

For additional information about the Military Police, please see the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal website.

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