The Corps of Royal Military Police moved into Berlin at the end of WWII as part of the Occupation Force. Members of 247 (Berlin) Pro Coy RMP & SIB RMP Berlin
were responsible for Policing the British Sector of Berlin
throughout the Cold War
The Olympic Stadium Berlin, made famous by the 1936 Olympics, had been refurbished after the war and in 1966 part of it was a secure area housing the British Military Government, British Berlin Brigade Headquarters as well as various support units, including the Royal Military Police. 247 (Berlin) Provost Company RMP, was responsible for General Police Duties, border patrols and controlling checkpoints, while Berlin Detachment Special Investigation Branch of RMP was a separate detective unit and operated mainly in plain clothes. Although both RMP GPD and SIB were Corps of Royal Military Police, they were separate Branches of RMP with their own hierarchy. For ease of recognition, members of the two branches of military police were usually referred to as GPD for uniformed units and SIB for the plainclothes detectives.
The Divided City
Berlin was divided into four Sector after the second world war, controlled by the military might of one of the four controlling powers; the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union. Being part of an occupation force, the Berlin Senate funded RMP Berlin, and they did not want for equipment of any kind, their vehicles, all manufactured in Germany and painted black rather than the usual Army Gree. Font and back white reflective plates were fitted bearing the words ‘Military Police in red. They also had blue revolving lights and two-tone Martin horns as well as state of the art Telefunken vehicle radiotelephones.
RMP Control Room
Inside the Control Room which RMP call the Duty Room, was a high desk the complete length of the room, with a raised platform behind the desk where the duty personnel sat, looking down on those who dare approach the desk. There was a multitude of telephones and two radiotelephone systems, one for general use and one specifically for the Berlin Military Train travelling from West Germany through the Eastern Zone ‘Corridor’ to Berlin. A large scale multi coloured street map of Berlin covered one wall of the Control. Behind the desk was a small corridor giving access to two police cells, no longer used for prisoners, instead one was an armoury or secure storage for weapons used by those on duty, the other was available for use as deemed necessary and included a bed and locker for use by the shift supervisor. The Control Room, manned by a Desk Sergeant assisted by another military policeman, usually a senior Corporal. A Berlin civil policeman was also in the Control Room, and various other personnel, including German and Russian Interpreters, were available in a room nearby. A typical shift of police personnel included four mobile patrols, each consisting of two men. Two of these were armed and patrolled the Sector border between West and East Berlin, known as the ‘Wall’ and Zonal Border between West Berlin and East Germany, known as the ‘Wire’, while the remaining two were available for normal police duties and in good British tradition were normally not armed. In addition to these mobile patrols, Military Policemen or Policewomen of the WRAC, Women’s Royal Army Corps Provost carried out duties at Checkpoints Bravo, controlling access to the 100 Kilometre Autobahn Corridor to Helmstedt in West Germany, and Checkpoint Charlie, controlling access to East Berlin. Armed Military Policemen were also on duty at the East Gate controlling access to the military part of the Olympic Stadium and the Tiergarten Guardroom, near the Reichstag, controlling access to the Russian War Memorial close to the Brandenburg Gate. A normal twelve-hour shift for the Military Police in Berlin comprised of eighteen Military Policemen plus interpreters and a Duty Driver. At this time, only 21 years after the end of the war, the British authorities were still an occupation force and in control of the British Sector of Berlin, however, there was a general policy of building up the Berlin civilian authorities including police, giving them more authority whilst being aware that the Military had the final say. Although German Deutschmarks were the currency in West Germany and amongst the German population of West Berlin, so-called BAFS or more correctly British Armed Forces Special Vouchers in pounds sterling were the currency of the British occupying forces and no use to a potential enemy.