1 Military Police Brigade deployed last October 2016 to Cyprus on Ex LION STAR 8, an Overseas Training Exercise which also served as an Annual Deployment Exercise for Reservist personnel. 73 exercising troops deployed alongside 43 Real-Life Support personnel. The blend of cap badges and experience was vast. Reserve elements deployed from; 116 Provost Company 3rd Regiment Royal Military Police (a Detachment of 116 Provost Company – 2 Platoon – is based at Belle Vue Army Reserve Centre in Manchester), 243 Provost Company 1st Regiment Royal Military Police (Livingston), 253 Provost Company 4th Regiment Royal Military Police (London), Military Provost Staff Reserve, Special Investigations Branch Reserve. They were further supported by a Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer attached to 156 Provost Company, four chefs (42 Battery Royal Artillery, 30 Signal Regiment, 22 Engineer Regiment RE, 29 EOD RE), and two medics (22 Field Hospital, 74 Support Battery RA).
The deployment thrust soldiers into a hot and arid climate, where the first test automatically becomes personal administration in the field. As soldiers rapidly acclimatised, serials which challenged soldiers in a variety of different skills began. Soldiers were given operational policing and detention tasks, whilst their patrolling tactics and Basic Close Combat Skills (BCCS) were essential to reach and secure crime scenes and vulnerable points.
Policing scenarios focussed on the full spectrum of challenging policing, including Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), and the involvement of armed civilians, which tested specific principles of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), and Rules of Engagement (ROE). Focussing on our core business thoroughly highlighted our unique, distinct and necessary capability, whilst emphasising our crucial ability to Soldier First.
We were joined by a Military Working Dog (MWD), Jess, for a search operation. Jess put her nose to work to excellent and immediate effect. Each policing serial followed right through until the point of detention and beyond, where Military Provost Staff provided subject matter expertise when handling Captured Persons (CPERs). CPERs were transferred into a Unit Holding Area (UHA), which is a small secure detention facility where those detained can be processed. Typically, this will be as rugged as a ‘9 by 9’ tent with barbed wire around it, and such expeditionary conditions reflect the proximity to the battle where such a facility would be staged. The exercise phase culminated in a final attack, thoroughly testing the command and control of junior and senior leaders to defeat the enemy at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) on the training area surrounding Radio Sonde at Episkopi.
Soldiers were able, briefly, to enjoy the sights of the town of Paphos for a morning, before preparing for the next phase which was to see soldiers live-firing, which for some junior soldiers was their first experience of complex tactical live-firing. This incorporated a march and shoot competition, where soldiers conduct a route march and advance to contact where they engage targets, when seen.
Ex LION STAR 8 was another significant achievement for 1MP Brigade’s Reservist soldiers, and remains a culminating event in the training year, enabling commanders and leaders at all levels the opportunity to test and be tested.
For more information about 116 Provost Company and how you can get involved, visit http://www.army.mod.uk/agc/provost/31532.aspx