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History of the MPGS

The AGC (MPGS) was formed using the model of the Vulnerable Points Wing of the Corp of Military Police. At the onset of World War II the Corp of Military Police (CMP) fulfilled normal policing duties. As the war progressed the CMP divided into three distinct parts:

  • Provost Wing - Known as 'The Red Caps'. These were employed on both general and specialist policing duties.
  • Traffic Control Wing (TCW) - Formed solely to deal with the Traffic Control of formations in both frontal and rear echelon areas. TCW personnel were organised into armed companies each responsible for a specific geographical area. Although they belonged to the CMP they carried out all instructions issued by Movement Control.
  • Vulnerable Points Wing (VPW) - It was the task of the VPW to provide guards for installations and buildings that were seen as vulnerable points, such as ammunition and petrol dumps, docks, locks, bridges and power stations. They were organised into sections, each of 7 privates, under command of an NCO. They were armed with SMGs and batons, and used guard dogs during the night. Their primary task was anti-sabotage and this was undertaken by a mixture of static guards and patrolling.

The modern MPGS was formed on a trial basis in 1997 following recommendations made in the Defence Cost Study. As a cost cutting measure, the study proposed the creation of a new, locally employed armed guarding force to take over some of the non-constabulary duties of the Ministry of Defence Police.

The programme was subsequently extended as a retention measure to release the mainstream regular soldiers, including Soldiers Awaiting Training, to their primary tasks. Ministerial approval was given in 1999 to make the MPGS permanent and extend the scheme to the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Since 1999, the MPGS has increased to over 2700 soldiers, guarding over 111 sites. In doing so, they have improved the professionalism of armed security in the MOD, significantly reduced the cost of armed guarding to the taxpayer and freed thousands of regular Service personnel to concentrate on their primary duties.

The Cap Badge

The current MPGS cap badge incorporates the Royal Crest in gold with beneath, the scroll inscribed 'Military Provost Guard Service', all superimposed on crossed keys in silver.

The design follows that of the Military Foot Police, who were raised in 1882 and disbanded in 1926, but with the addition of the crossed 19th century government keys, a traditional symbol of the custodian representing a function of the Military Provost Guard Service.

The Royal Crest forms part of the badge of the Adjutant General's Corps and was worn until 1900 by the Adjutant General's Department, the Provost Marshal and Officers of the Military Police.

The Motto

"Custodem Custodire" Guarding the Guardians

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