BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATION BRANCH
The Commanding Officer of the Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP) is the Provost Marshal (Army).
The Provost Marshal's office is very ancient, originating prior to the 16th century. The appointment of Provost Marshal has always been the prerogative of the ruling Monarch, which exists to this day. The office of the Provost Marshal is arguably the fore-runner of the modern Police Force, being in existence and operational from mediaeval times, and was formed to enforce good order and military discipline among the troops.
King Charles I, decreed in his Articles of War of 1629, that "The Provost shall have a horse and soldiers to attend him....". His decree is now enshrined in the Royal Military Police Emblazonment - Further details may be found on the website of the Corps of Royal Military Police.
The Royal prefix: In 1946 in recognition of its outstanding war record His Majesty King George VI graciously granted the 'Royal' prefix to the Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP) in recognition of its outstanding wartime record. CRMP was chosen to avoid confusion with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP.
Since 1945, the RMP has served in every theatre and campaign undertaken by the British Army since 1945 including the Falkland Islands, the Gulf, Rhodesia, Rwanda, Bosnia, East Timor, and Kosovo. In many cases they have been the first to arrive and last to leave and currently there are over 150 RMP personnel deployed on operations across the globe in the Balkans, Iraq, and in Afghanistan.
In 1977, in her Silver Jubilee Year, Her Majesty the Queen graciously agreed to become Colonel-in-Chief. In 1992, the RMP became part of the federated Adjutant General's Corps (AGC) as part of the Provost Branch, which also now includes the Military Provost Staff (MPS) and the Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS).
The Special Investigation Branch
(SIB) is an operational arm of the Corps of Royal Military
Police (RMP) and the Commanding Officer is the Provost Marshal (Army).
Consequently the decision was made by the War Office to recruit 19 detectives seconded from the Metropolitan Police. On 29th February 1940, they became operational with the BEF in France under the command of Major C. E. Campion. These 19 detectives formed the nucleus of the Special Investigation Branch (SIB), as it is known today.
The modern SIB comprises a number of well trained men and women, recruited from within RMP, who are deployed worldwide where-ever the British Army is serving. They investigate the more serious and sensitive criminal offences, also special investigations into other matters. The offences involved are invariably committed by, or against, serving Army personnel of all ranks, the families of serving soldiers, civilians employed by the British Army, and/or other civilians. SIB Investigators must be prepared to be posted and work anywhere in the world.
To carry out their duties members of SIB usually wear civilian clothes and are responsible for establishing the truth of the circumstances under enquiry. This entails interviewing witnesses and persons suspected of crime, examining scenes of crime; to collect evidence for production later in a Courts Martial or other courts of law. Trained SIB Scene of Crime Officers (SOCOs) are available to assist in examining crime scenes for forensic evidence.
On operational duties overseas the SIB Investigator may be required to wear uniform. Currently SIB is deployed to various locations in the United Kingdom & Norhern Ireland, Germany, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Canada, Belize, Afghanistan, and have travelled when needed to the USA, Australia, Kenya and elsewhere.
Because of the intensity and amount of serious crime, the SIB investigates allegations in all Opertional Theatres, where the Army is deployed throughout the world. They have a number of technical support teams on which they can call to assist their enquiries:
Crime Intelligence Teams are responsible for the processing and analysis of criminal intelligence and who maintain close ties with other agencies.
Fraud Teams are responsible for the investigation of fraud & false accounting, in all its forms, where public monies have been misused. They are supported by Specialist Accountants.
Covert Operations Teams are responsible for the surveillance and monitoring of persons in accordance with current legislation.
Forensic Teams are resposible for the examination of crime scenes, collection and processing of exhibits for later production in a court of law. Sometimes working in liaison with the UK Forensic Science Service.
Joint Response Teams comprise of specialists in interviewing children and vulnerable adults who are victims of abuse and serious sexual crime, often in liaison with local Social Services.
Multi-media & Evidential Imagery Team are responsible for the processing of any images caught on camera or CCTV during the investigation of criminal offences.
High Tech Crime Team will undertake the forensic examination of computers and other electronic devices, to recover evidence in aid of an investigation.
SIB work is challenging, often arduous involving un-social hours, sometimes dangerous, but always interesting and varied. SIB case work often necessitates a lot of travel. The Investigator is often required to work alone and on other occasions to work as part of a team.
A prerequisite for a good SIB Investigator, it has been said, is an enquiring mind, self-confidence, an aptitude for detective work, the ability to be self-motivated, combined with common sense, a good knowledge of criminal law and courts procedure, a sense of humour, and a liking for foreign travel.
The emblem of the SIB is a branch with 19 extremeties signifying the original 19 detectives voluntarily seconded from the Metropolitan Police, to serve in the Army during WW2. Today it is worn with pride by all members of SIB, both serving and veterans.
70th Anniversary of
On Saturday, 13th February 2010, a Regimental Dinner was held at the former Army Staff College, Sandhurst, to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the formation of the SIB, and to reaffirm links with the Metropolitan Police Service. The Adjutant General, Lt. Gen. MFN Mans CBE, together with Assistant Commissioner C Dick QPM of the Metropolitan Police, were in attendance as Guests of Honour alongside the serving and former Provost Marshal (Army) and members of the SIB fraternity, both past and present. A photograph (left) of those present at this momentous occasion is published on the front cover of the RMP Journal.