From Fleet beat to Joint Police

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author), LSIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Randwick, NSW

Topic(s): Military Police

Naval Police Coxwains (NPC) outside the Military Police Station at Randwick Baracks, Sydney. From left: LCDR Sean West Money, Leading Seaman (LS) NPC James Downey, LSNPC Kellie Nash and Petty Officer NPC Jean Metcalf. (photo: LSIS Steven Thomson)
Naval Police Coxwains (NPC) outside the Military Police Station at Randwick Baracks, Sydney. From left: LCDR Sean West Money, Leading Seaman (LS) NPC James Downey, LSNPC Kellie Nash and Petty Officer NPC Jean Metcalf.

Joint Military Police Station Sydney at Randwick Barracks - staffed by Navy, Army and Air Force members - is a clear example of a tri-service approach achieving the best collective outcome as part of the Joint Military Police Force.

The Joint Military Police Force (JMPF) is the primary contact for all Defence policing matters, providing general duties policing and investigative capability to the ADF.

Officer Commanding Joint Military Police Station Sydney, Lieutenant Commander Sean West Money, said integrating the three services into one unit had come at a challenging time, but his team had embraced opportunities to carry out joint military policing work.

“The biggest challenge has been taking responsibility for one of the busiest and largest ‘patches’ to police, with a force only established in January and, from the outset, supporting Operation BUSHFIRE ASSIST,” Lieutenant Commander West Money said.

“This has also meant the JMPF has been provided real opportunities to do the job that we signed up to do, and in return, our people have shown commitment which has enabled us to succeed and demonstrate immense value to Defence.”

As an Officer Commanding a tri-service unit, Lieutenant Commander West Money has sought to value the distinctions between and cultures of Navy, Army and Air Force.

“My second in command is an Army Captain who is getting an education in Navy-speak and she is teaching me about Battalions, Brigades and Divisions, while our Air Force Team Leaders at RAAF Richmond and RAAF Williamtown are teaching me Airside awareness.

“We are all learning from each other to get the best bits of how to carry out policing in the ADF,” Lieutenant Commander West Money said.

Petty Officer Naval Police Coxswain Jean Metcalf is one of the team at JMPS Sydney and has embraced the new tri-service work environment.

“At the start of the year, I was called out to assist with the Batemans Bay area bushfire assistance recovery, and I worked with three exceptional Army MPs,” Petty Officer Metcalf said.

“We were tasked with running the Command Bus for New South Wales Police to allow them to better serve the public and during this period I was able to learn how Army Military Police work on domestic activities.”

“Being part of the JMPU means I am able to further enhance my policing skills within Defence as we collectively move closer to align with state police forces.”

Naval Police Coxswain, Leading Seaman Kellie Nash has enjoyed the atmosphere of mutual learning that comes with policing alongside other services.

“I believe exposure to different services is instrumental to our development. It is always good to have an understanding of how Army and Air Force operate, so Navy can improve and streamline our procedures,” Leading Seaman Nash said.

“Integrating Army and Air Force practices and attitudes can prompt us to re-think how we do things, which I don’t think is a terrible thing.

“For example, Army have perfected a style of leadership which sees officers putting the team first in all things. Their officers eat, sleep and go home last; I really respect that,” she said.

While they are no longer part of the Command Naval Police Coxswain team at HMAS Kuttabul and have their own remit, the Navy members at JMPS Sydney share a good relationship with their Fleet-focussed counterparts.

“One of the larger changes for Navy has been adjusting to the differences between how the JMPF and Command Naval Police Coxswains operate, but ultimately it’s about being problem solvers and ensuring the safety of Defence members rather than arrests,” Lieutenant Commander West Money said.

“Whether they are posted to a Navy ship or establishment in a Naval Police role, or in a Military Police role in the JMPF, our people are all sailors wanting to protect and serve their peers.”

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20201679.

Naval Police Coxwains (NPC) outside the Military Police Station at Randwick Baracks, Sydney. From left: Petty Officer NPC Jean Metcalf, Leading Seaman (LS) NPC James Downey, LSNPC Kellie Nash and LCDR Sean West Money.

Naval Police Coxwains (NPC) outside the Military Police Station at Randwick Baracks, Sydney. From left: Petty Officer NPC Jean Metcalf, Leading Seaman (LS) NPC James Downey, LSNPC Kellie Nash and LCDR Sean West Money.