Military Police are a small but essential part of the Defence Force, which works to hold the organisation to account and provide a vital role in keeping personnel safe. The trade has undergone a number of iterations so Air Force News chatted with a few of the team to find out what their role entails and what they enjoy about the job.
“We are very similar to New Zealand Police but we have different jurisdictions. Our jurisdiction is within the Defence area and with Defence personnel and from there we conduct investigations into offences, with NZDF personnel,” Sergeant Julie Newson said.
Sergeant (SGT) Newson is an investigator with the Serious Investigations Branch at Base Woodbourne.
“I am assigned investigations and from there I conduct preliminary enquiries into the allegations. We get as much evidence as we can and we put it all into a report that is given to the Commanding Officer with recommendations around prosecution.”
With a strong family connection to the Air Force, SGT Newson was drawn to military life and started in Air Security, which changed first to Force Protection, then Security Forces and finally in a separate Military Police unit.
After posting as a junior investigator SGT Newson discovered she enjoyed the work.
“I really enjoyed seeing something through to the end and I guess knowing that I can make a difference to the complainant, victim and the suspect
as well. I really like helping people. And if I can assist people to get the help they need, either through Chaplains or counselling, then that’s great as well.”
Covering the top of the country at Whenuapai is SGT Carl Craigie who is part of the investigation team for the Northern region.
“My primary focus is on Whenuapai and the married quarters area, however, we do assist the other bases and the other services, Naval Police and Army Military Police as well in their areas.”
A couple of years after joining Security Forces, SGT Craigie completed a Joint Service Basic Investigators Course.
“It wasn’t long after then that Military Police were going tri-service and I decided after my experience on the basic course that that was the kind of line I wanted to pursue, so I put my hand up for the tri-service Military Police trade.”
He joined the Air Force with a desire to travel and the Military Police has provided him with just that experience.
“I’ve travelled all around the country with Military Police and I was fortunate to be able to complete an Australian Defence Force Investigators Course in Australia, which kept me in Sydney for about three months.
“I also conducted a deployment to the Middle East in 2015, which, although was a Force Protection deployment, I was with the Military Police at the time and was deployed as an MP.”
The most interesting aspect of the job was working with all three services and experiencing the differences that each service brought, he said.
“I quite like getting out and about talking with people and engaging people — finding out what’s going on in their area and potentially, if there are issues, how the MPs can look to either fix those issues or suggest ideas that can help that person or unit. So for me it is about getting out and about and engaging those issues.”
SGT Daniel Hynds is the team leader for the Serious Investigations Branch that looks after the camps and bases in the central region, from Waiouru to Wellington.
“I posted into Military Police in 2015 and before then I’d been part of the security investigations detachment under Security Forces.
“I enjoyed the more analytical side of it as well as the challenge of working through an investigation file to its conclusion, which can be quite rewarding — when you see justice being done at the end of it.”
The role of the Military Police was important because it held members of the organisation to account “to our own values”, he said.
“A feature of a professional organisation is its ability to self-regulate the behaviour of its members. The Military Police form part of the mechanism that supports that for the NZDF, in order to protect our values, people, resources, and reputation.
“A majority of getting out and about is through the course of investigations, talking with witnesses and suspects alike. You do get to meet and engage with a variety of Defence Force members, which is great because you’re not just stuck in your unit/trade silo.”
“We just want to keep people safe, that’s a big part of our role. We want to make sure people are safe and secure. During investigations we want to make sure people’s welfare is taken care of as well.” — Sergeant Julie Newson
NZDF MP are recruiting now — contact your local MP unit for details.