Who we are, what we do and how our work supports UK national security

We are…

the Ministry of Defence Police
more commonly known as the MOD Police or the MDP

a national civilian police force
serving the Ministry of Defence and other UK Government departments and US Visiting Forces

a specialist police force
with most of our officers deployed as Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs)

All new recruits are trained to be AFOs from the beginning of their career with the MDP: trained to the national standards set by the College of Policing.

Our history

The MDP was first formed in 1971, following the merger of the former Air Force Department, Army Department and Admiralty Constabularies.

The MDP’s legal status and jurisdiction are defined in statute by the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987, as amended by the Anti-Terrorist Crime and Security Act 2001. Visit our GOV.UK Ministry of Defence Police jurisdiction page to find out more.

What we do

We deliver unique specialist policing, to protect UK Defence capability and national infrastructure – including its sites, people, assets and local communities.

The Departmental Mandate and Statement of Requirement for the Ministry of Defence Police defines our purpose within Defence and the tasks and policing capabilities that we are required to maintain and deliver.

We PROTECT and REASSURE to ACHIEVE the Ministry of Defence requirement by:

  • using our unique specialist policing skills to PROTECT people and assets essential to Defence and national infrastructure
  • providing a highly visible and proactive policing presence to REASSURE our customers and local communities
  • deploying our people and resources in an effective and efficient way, to ACHIEVE what we are required to deliver for Defence, other government departments and US Visiting Forces

Counter terrorism policing is a major part of our role. We can, and have been, called upon to support the national policing response to major terrorist incidents, as part of the national Strategic Armed Policing Reserve and as part of the MOD’s commitment to Operation Temperer.

Interested in finding out more about our purpose, priorities and objectives, take a look at our Corporate and Annual Business Plans on GOV.UK

Did you know?

  • Although we are not a Home Office Police Force, we do work closely with our colleagues in police forces across the UK (including Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland). We can also be called upon to provide mutual aid and specialist policing support to other forces.
  • We are not ‘military police’. Unlike our Service Police colleagues, with whom we also work closely, our officers’ jurisdiction extends outside the Defence estate and we have full powers and privileges of constables, identical to other civil police officers in the UK.
  • Our work is primarily focused on armed security and the protection of sensitive Defence sites and assets but, there is much more that we do. This includes a range of specialisms from dog handling to marine policing, from investigating crime to public order, from community policing to protester removal.
  • Most roles in the MDP require officers to be trained to deploy with firearms and as part of your initial training you must successfully complete the MDP firearms training course.

Whether you join us as a new recruit or as a new entrant from another police force, whatever your background, skills, or experience, you’ll be given the training you need and you’ll have every opportunity to specialise and further your career with us.

For the latest MDP news, check out our in-house magazine, Talk Through on GOV.UK