Saturday, 4 July 2015
With the recent establishment of the Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS) on RAF stations to undertake armed guarding and security tasks and the introduction of the RAF Force Protection Organisation in 2003, the RAF Police have been subjected to large-scale reductions in personnel and a major realignment in the way the branch supports global RAF tactical operations and joint military manoeuvres. In April 2005 as part of Project Darwin, the former RAF Provost & Security Services (P&SS), located at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire, was renamed as the Headquarters Provost Marshal (RAF) (HQPM(RAF)). The Air Commodore relinquished his office as Provost Marshal (PM(RAF)) to a provost Group Captain before taking up his new appointment as Assistant Chief of Staff Force Protection; Commandant General RAF Regiment & Air Officer RAF Police. The change at the top was brought about to allow the Air Commodore to concentrate on directing the wider aspects of Force Protection, whilst allowing the Group Captain to independently manage all police investigatory functions. While the Air Commodore remains the figurehead of the branch in his capacity as Air Officer RAF Police, he has no remit to investigate or influence criminal or security matters. Although the new PM(RAF) is tasked to report through the Air Commodore to the Air-Officer-Commanding No2 Group (HQ Air Command) in respect of normal police and security matters, he retains direct access to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) in respect of investigative affairs. As part of the restructuring, No 1 (Specialist Police) Wing (SPW), under the command of a wing commander was formed, to take over the functions previously carried by P&SS, and comprises three single-capability squadrons; RAF Special Investigation Branch (SIB) (No 1 Squadron), Counter-Intelligence Squadron (CIS) (No 2 Squadron) and Security Services Squadron (SSS) (No 3 Squadron). The SSS in its entirety is based at RAF Henlow with HQPM (RAF), along with the nucleus and command structure of the SIB and CIS, while elements of expertise from the SIB and CIS are established at three dispersed units; HMS Caledonia (Scotland), RAF Cranwell (Lincoln) and RAF Halton (Buckinghamshire) to provide prompt professional specialist support to RAF unit commanders. Plans are currently in hand to divide RAF Police resources within the UK into three wings; General Police Wing (GPW)(4 squadrons), Specialist Police Wing (SPW) (3 squadrons) and Tactical Police Wing (TPW) (3 squadrons; 2 regular and 1 RAuxAF).
At the beginning of 2007 the establishment of the RAF Police stood at 188 commissioned officers, 44 warrant officers and 1,438 NCOs. In April 2007, following on from Project DARWIN 2; the second phase of re-structuring the RAF Police, the stage is set for the PM(RAF) to exercise command over all RAF Police personnel serving within HQ Air Command, which amounts to about sixty-five percent of the RAF Police establishment. Those not subject to his direct control will include personnel serving with TPW who, for the time being, will remain under the command of the Force Protection Organisation and personnel employed with joint units overseas such as Gibraltar, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands. With MPGS established on RAF stations to undertake guarding and routine security commitments, there is no longer a requirement to staff individual RAF stations with police flights in the traditional way. As such, four numbered RAF Police squadrons were formed around the country, as part of No 2 (General) RAF Police Wing, to undertake general police duties, higher level security tasks and Air Transport Security operations on and off RAF stations within their respective area of responsibility. The units chosen to base the district headquarters of each squadron are; RAF Lossiemouth (No 4 Squadron), RAF Waddington (No 5 Squadron), RAF Marham (No 6 Squadron) and RAF Brize Norton (No 7 Squadron). While each squadron commander and his small management team will operate from the district HQ, the majority of RAF Police personnel assigned to each squadron will be attached to RAF stations within their respective district. The elements of expertise from SPW, comprising SIB and CIS, established at HMS Caledonia, RAF Cranwell and RAF Halton will continue to operate as before.
Since November 2005, all RAF Police training has been carried out at the Defence Police College at Southwick Park in Hampshire, an establishment shared with the Royal Naval Provost Branch and the Army’s Royal Military Police. In addition to initial police training for new recruits and provost officers, specialist post graduate courses are offered in respect of Air Transport Security training, Special Investigation training, Crime Scene Forensic training, Counter-Intelligence training and Computer Security training. Other specialist police and security training courses, such as the Home Office Detective training course, continue to be conducted at other service or civil police establishments around the UK, while basic and specialist training courses for dog handlers are conducted at the Defence Animal Centre, Melton Mowbray.
In the spring of 2014, the establishment of the RAF Police comprised approximately 1,100 warrant officers, senior NCOs and junior NCOs and 175 commissioned officers. Of that number, the 33rd Provost Marshal (RAF), as RAF Police Commander and the first to be formally appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, under the Armed Forces Act 2011. exercised direct command over seventy five percent of the establishment; the other twenty-five percent being deployed overseas or employed with other elements of the RAF. Of those operating under the direct command of the Provost Marshal, thirty percent were engaged on General Police Duties (GPD), Special Investigation & Intelligence Branch (SIIB) and, Military Working Dogs (MWD), while the remainder were involved in higher level security commitments. Although the Provost Marshal continued to report directly to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) through the Assistant Chief of Air Staff (ACAS) for investigations and police matters, he remained responsible to Air-Officer-Commanding No 2 Group (AOC 2 Gp through Air-Officer-RAF Police (AO RAFP) for his security tasks. Operating from the Headquarters RAF Police based at RAF Honington, he exercised command over:
No 1 RAF Police Wing based at RAF Cranwell, which was responsible for the north of the UK, and comprised, No 4 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth (covering Scotland), No 5 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Cranwell (covering the north of England and North Wales), SIIB (North) based at RAF Cranwell, and the Military Provost Guard Service (North) based at RAF Cranwell.
No 2 RAF Police Wing based at RAF Halton, which was responsible for the south of the UK, and comprised, No 6 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Marham (covering Mid Wales, Midlands & East Anglia), No 7 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton (covering South Wales, South England & the West Country), SIIB (South) based at RAF Halton, and the Military Provost Guard Service (South) based at RAF Halton.
No 3 RAF Police Wing based at RAF Henlow, which comprised No 1 Tactical Police Squadron, No 3 Royal Auxiliary Air Force Police, Special Capability Squadron, and No 603 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Police based in Edinburgh.
He also provided technical direction over the Joint Police & Security Unit (JSPU) based in the Falkland Islands, and had pastoral responsibilities for the RAF Police employed in Cyprus, with the Gibraltar Police & Security Unit (GP&SU), and at the Defence Animal (training) Centre (DAC) at Melton Mowbray."
Jun 2015 - No 3 RAF Police Wing (3PW), the tactical and support element of the RAF Police, under the command of Wing Commander J Knight, completed the transfer from RAF Henlow to RAF Honington co-locating with Headquarters RAF Police and the RAF Police Specialist Capability Squadron. 3PW comprises four squadrons; No 1 Tactical Police Squadron (1TPS), 3TPS (RAFP Aux Sqn), No 603 City of Edinburgh RAFP Aux Sqn and the Specialist Capability Squadron (SCS) made up of the Security Survey Team, Defence Flying Complaints, Computer Forensics, Crime Scene Examiners & Forensics, and the Covert Operations Team (COT). In essence, 3PW equates to the former Operations Wing which existed at HQ P&SS (UK). 2TPS, established purely for Afghanistan deployments disbanded with the withdrawal from that theatre. The move left only the RAF Police Professional Standards Department, the Survey Team and the Defence Flying Complaints Flight at remaining at RAF Henlow for a little longer. Elsewhere, 1 Police Wing Headquarters, under the command of Wing Commander G Darby was based at RAF Cranwell and covered RAF Police operations in the Northern half of the UK with No 4 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth (covering Scotland and the borders), No 5 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Cranwell (covering the north of England and North Wales), SIIB (North) based at RAF Cranwell along with the Military Provost Guard Service (North). while No 2 RAF Police Wing Headquarters, under the command of Wing Commander J Penelhum was based at RAF Halton and covered RAF Police operations in the Southern half of the UK with No 6 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Marham (covering Mid Wales, Midlands & East Anglia), No 7 RAF Police Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton (covering South Wales, South England & the West Country), SIIB (South) based at RAF Halton, along with the Military Provost Guard Service (South).
Friday, 14 March 2014
I have created a page on Facebook called 'Royal Air Force Police - Global History' so if you want to learn more about this unique branch of the RAF then why not take a peek: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalAirForcePoliceGlobalHistory?ref=hl
Sunday, 19 August 2012
Since 1993 Stephen R Hingeley-Davies has been researching the complex history of the RAF Police since its formation on the 1st April 1918.
During his 20 year research into the history of the RAF Police, he has amassed one of the largest depositories of information regarding the global activities of the branch dating back to the very beginning. In the lead-up to 2018 many authors will be working hard to compile the rather impressive history of the service during its first 100 years but most will focus on the flying exploits. Steve's intention is to produce a book, comprising several volumes, which will offer readers and historians alike a valuable insight into what the RAF Police have achieved during those first 100 years at home and abroad and is sure the book will make a valued addition to the records held by the RAF Historical Branch for future generations to refer to. If you served in the RAF Police or are still serving and you have a story to tell him then he would be delighted to hear from you with a view to including it in the book. Your contribution may be the missing piece of the jigsaw that is indeed, the History of the Royal Air Force Police.
Stephen R Hingeley-Davies
Hard copies of Steve's books available from:
Woodfield Publishing Ltd ~ Independent UK Book Publishers
Woodfield House | Babsham Lane | Bognor Regis | West Sussex | PO21 5EL | England | UK
www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk | www.woodfieldpublishing.com
Enquiries & telephone orders call 01243 821234 (international +44 1243 821234) 9am-5pm GMT (voicemail out of hours)
My illustrated and informative book, ‘RAF POLICE OPERATIONS IN EUROPE’ tells the story of how the RAF Police formed in April 1918 and outlines in detail its mission to support the RAF in both war and peacetime operations in Europe and the UK up until 2005. At the end of WWII the establishment of the RAF Police stood at 21,000 personnel. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p209_raf-police-europe.html
My book ‘RAF POLICE DOGS ON PATROL’ - A RAF Police dog team are on patrol protecting the aircraft that are ready for their next mission. In the darkness the dog suddenly picks up on an unfamiliar scent, his hackles rise and he strains at his leash. The handler knows that something is amiss and immediately sends a discreet radio message as the dog leads him towards the source of the scent. Suddenly, a figure breaks cover and starts to run off into the darkness. The handler immediately shouts ‘Halt or I’ll release my Dog’, but the man ignores the warning hoping to make good his escape. The handler releases his dog and in a matter of seconds the dog has brought him down and stands guard over the terrified intruder until the handler arrives to take charge. While the dog continues to guard the man, the handler requests urgent assistance; another attempt to interfere with the country’s defences was foiled by the vigilance of the RAF Police dog team. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p183_raf-police-dogs.html
My illustrated and informative book, ‘RAF POLICE - CAPE TOWN TO KABUL’ outlines in some detail the RAF Police mission to support the RAF in both war and peacetime operations in Africa, Cyprus, the Middle East, Aden, Iraq and Afghanistan up until 2006. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p236_raf-police-capetown-kabul.html
My illustrated and informative book, ‘RAF POLICE – BOMBAY TO ASCENSION ISLAND’ outlines in some detail the RAF Police mission to support the RAF in both war and peacetime operations in India, the Far East, Australia, Canada and the South Atlantic up until 2007. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p271_raf-police-bombay-ascension.html
My illustrated and informative book, ‘RAF POLICE – THE GREAT ESCAPE MURDERS’ outlines in some detail the Great Escape from the Stalag Luft III POW camp in 1944 and the incredible post-war investigation carried out by the RAF Police Special Investigation Branch which hunted down the Gestapo killers who murdered 50 of the recaptured RAF officers who took part in the escape. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p311_great-escape-murders.html
In addition, the author acted as a specialist advisor to the director, and was filmed, during the making of the documentary; 'The Great Escape, the Reckoning' in early 2009.
My book, ‘THOSE BLOOMIN’ SNOWDROPS’ contains a collection of humorous stories and cartoons outlining some of the lighter moments witnessed by the RAF Police whilst on duty. It is guaranteed to have you in tears as you read some of the things that go on out there. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p270.html
My book, ‘MORE BLOOMIN’ SNOWDROPS’ is a sequel to the first book of humorous stories and cartoons, which again outline some of the lighter moments witnessed by the RAF Police whilst on duty. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p328_more-bloomin-snowdrops.html
My book “WHITECAP TWO-FIVE” A Royal Air Force Policeman’s experiences at home and abroad, 1975-2000: In this entertaining and impressively extensive 940,00-word memoir, Stephen R Davies looks back on his eventful 25-year career in the RAF Police from 1975 to 2000, during which time he worked at various locations in the United Kingdom and overseas as far afield as Germany, Belize, Ascension Island and New Zealand. In the course of his career Steve would be involved in a wide variety of police work, from routine security duties to specialist criminal investigation and anti-drug operations. Along the way he would learn a great deal about police procedures, teamwork and personnel management, knowledge which was put to good use when he became an instructor at the Airman's Command School and later the RAF Police Training School. Policing is, of course, serious work and this is reflected in much of the narrative, in which Steve details the challenges and problems he faced, both in fighting crime and maintaining good working relationships with colleagues, subordinates and superiors, which frequently called for all the inventiveness and ingenuity he could muster. There are many lighter moments too, when Steve recalls some of the humorous situations he encountered in the line of duty and these are described with a mischievous sense of humour that is also evident the pranks and practical jokes that he and his colleagues were fond of playing on one another. This book is, of course, highly recommended to any former RAF policemen, who will no doubt find within its pages much to remind them of their own experiences, while those who are young and inexperienced will find that it contains a great deal of valuable information and good advice. But you do not have to be a policeman or even a military veteran to enjoy Steve’s articulate and amusing tales of his years in uniform, which contain plenty of entertainment value for readers of all ages and persuasions. More information can be obtained from: http://www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p372_Whitecap_Two-Five.html
In addition the following titles have been updated and published as electronic books and are available from Amazon Kindle:
My original book, 'FIAT JUSTITIA – A HISTORY OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE POLICE', which was published in 1994, is no longer available from the publisher in hard form but is now available as an e-book published with Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jusitia-History-Royal-Police-ebook/dp/B007D6IBNC/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332028405&sr=1-4
GLOBAL HISTORY OF THE RAF POLICE (Europe) – Volume 1, is available as an updated e-book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008Z4TO0U
GLOBAL HISTORY OF THE RAF POLICE (Dogs) – Volume 2, is available as an updated e-book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007NN2AWS
GLOBAL HISTORY OF THE RAF POLICE (S Africa to Afghanistan) – Volume 3, is available as an updated e-book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008Z9SOSS
GLOBAL HISTORY OF THE RAF POLICE (India to Ascension) – Volume 4, is available as an updated e-book from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008Z9ZUPI
ESCAPE FROM STALAG LUFT III, is available as an updated e-book from Amazon, and tells the remarkable story of the Great Escape by RAF POWs from Stalag Luft III, in March 1944, the execution of 50 of those recaptured and the post-war investigation by the RAF Police Special Investigation Branch to track down the Gestapo killers of the 50:
SNOWDROPS HAVING A LAUGH 1, is available now as an e-book from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/THOSE-BLOOMING-SNOWDROPS-HAVING-ebook/dp/B0081UEX0Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336636383&sr=1-1
SNOWDROPS HAVING A LAUGH 2, is available now as an e-book from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/THOSE-BLOOMING-SNOWDROPS-HAVING-ebook/dp/B0081UFOS4/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336636383&sr=1-2
'RAF POLICE – AT WAR' the story of the Britian's global conflicts ranging from 1939 to 2012 and the part the RAF Police played in supporting the RAF. The book is filled with personal accounts from those who were there at the time and also includes a large selection of photographs. This has been published as an e-book with Amazon Kindle - More information can be obtained from: http://www.amazon.co.uk/ROYAL-AIR-FORCE-POLICE-ebook/dp/B007BH0GCM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332028253&sr=1-1
'WHITECAP TWO-FIVE' The story of my own 25 year career in the Royal Air Force Police.