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Problems of 2 NZEF



The more our men could be controlled by our own Provost Corps the better. Outside of any national feelings, there is something about the red cap of the Corps of Military Police that makes it resemble the proverbial red rag, particularly if a man has had a few drinks. The hat with the blue puggaree worn by our Provost Corps was much less offensive. Legally the CMP had full authority to arrest New Zealanders, and during the brief honeymoon of early 1940 no practical objection was taken to this; but as time went on and men became tougher and war-weary, the arrival of the CMP undoubtedly caused irritation, and sometimes bred increased violence. We never went so far as to ask definitely that the CMP should not arrest New Zealanders; but we did suggest that it would be better if they looked round for one of our own provost personnel to make the arrest. In Cairo it was possible to arrange that New Zealand provost NCOs accompanied CMP patrols; but elsewhere this could seldom be done. Cairo was, of course, the chief source of trouble.

Experience with one or two serious crimes requiring detailed investigations led us ultimately to form our own Special Investigation Branch, or detective squad. It gave valuable service.

Elements of the Provost Corps are required from the outset. Probably the first draft should include a few men already trained in the police or police reserve. Thereafter their selection and training merits special attention, for psychology forms a large part of it. A lot of troubles can be prevented before they ever start given a provost staff that carries out its duties with intelligence and humanity.