|Military Police of Albania|
Coat of arms of the Military Police
|Branch||Albanian Armed Forces|
|Size||1 MP battalion and MP platoons|
|Commander||Colonel Altin Kurti|
The Albanian Military Police (MP; Albanian: Policia Ushtarake, PU) is a provost independent branch of the Albanian Armed Forces responsible for the policing of service personnel, and for providing a military police presence both in Albania and while service personnel are deployed overseas on operations and exercises. The PU it is under the authority of Ministry of Defence. Its tasks increase during wartime to include traffic control organisation and POW and refugee control. The Military Police are distinguished from other units by their wearing of black uniform and the blue brassard worn around the left upper arm, with the "MP" lettering in white, symbol of military police.
After the fall of the 50-year-long communist regime of Albania, there was a need to reform the Armed Forces in all its pertinent structures. On 1 February 1992, the Military Police was established upon approval by Parliament of Law No. 511, dated 08.08.1991, "On the Military Police in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania". The purpose of this structure was to strengthen order and discipline in AAF and it was considered as an essential thing to transform the Army according to NATO countries’ standards.
With the creation of MP, the focus of its work was to control military vehicle traffic, maintenance of military rule in order to strengthen discipline in AF. In December 1994, attached to MP, were created the structures of Criminal Police and Fire Fighting Service. In early 1995, the MP branch in General Staff was transformed into the MP directorate commanded by Brig. Gen. Bajram Malaj. Through legal support, regulations and its professionalism growing day by day, the MP ranked among the best units of the Armed Forces.
After the events of 1997, the MP Director was Col. Piro Lutaj. After the events of 1997, MP had a tremendous growth on the basis of a project with the Italian Delegation of Experts (DIE). At that time, with the assistance of Italian specialists, for the first time, the MP battalion was created in Tirana, which was equipped with the necessary logistics and materials, and it was conceived according to Italian Carabinieri battalions. The establishment of MP battalion in Tirana marks a qualitative leap in the activity of this modern structure and the most qualitative of the time, which became apparent in the events of 1998, when the MP not only suffered any damage, but it defended several state institutions such as, the Radio Televizioni Shqiptar, Albtelecom, General Prosecutor’s Office and several international institutions.
Equipment of MP battalion in Tirana, with the necessary technique and armoured vehicles Iveco VM 90, played a huge role in the events of 1998 in Albania. This structure played an undeniable role in 1999, during the Kosovo crisis, when it had the major role for the welcome, escorting and treatment of refugees at camps set up in Kukës, Tirana, Durrës and other cities around the country, keeping under control the situation in the areas of Kukës, Krumë, Tropojë, especially at border posts, solving many difficult situations, escorting convoys and personalities that travelled to north and back, as well as maintaining control of the road network across the country, especially in the north. The events of 1997, 1998 and the Kosovo crisis are the most important events in the history of MP.
In late 2000, with the suppression of the structure of the MP Directorate, by the Order of the Ministry of Defence no. 1, dated 01.05.2001, “On the organization of the Military Police Regiment”, the Military Police Regiment was established and its commander was Lieutenant colonel Namik Goga. This structure exercised its activity until September 2003, protecting and safeguarding all exercises that took place on the territory of the country. In September 2003, the MP structure was transformed into a battalion structure based in Tirana and its commander was Lieutenant colonel Xhevahir Avdia, who held this office until 2005. In 2005 the commander of the battalion was appointed Lieutenant colonel Drini Nikolla, who held this office until 2008.
In July 2007, the MP battalion became an organic part of the Support Command, and its administrative management was subordinated to the Support Command, while its Operational Commanding was subordinated to the General Staff. Part of the battalion were four sections of MP in Shkodër, Durrës, Berat, Vlorë and five subsections of MP, in Kukës, Burrel, Elbasan, Korcë and Gjirokastër, where the sectors of Criminal Police, Judicial Police, vehicle traffic, Fire Fighting and Rescue conducted their activities.
In 2008, Colonel Xhevdet Zeneli became commander of the MP battalion. In May 2010, the structure of the Military Police was named Military Police of the Armed Forces in compliance with Law No. 9069 dated 15.05.200, “On the Military Police of the Armed Forces", and MP continues to have this structure nowadays.
During these years, MP is trained by the specialists of Italian Carabineers, U.S, German and Turkish military police.
For years, MP, through a special program, is preparing a sub-unit of platoon-level NRF (NATO Response Force), a force ready to act as part of NATO relevant structure, capable and suitably equipped to perform such duties.
So far, around 50 people of Military Police have been part of different missions abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, in support of the Armed Forces and various international HQs. MP has also conducted a mission in “ISAF” military operation, in Kabul, Afghanistan. This platoon consisted of 22 people.
Maintaining order in the AAF, detection, prevention and prosecution of criminal activity, engagement in the fight against terrorism, participation in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations and protection of state property managed and used by the Armed Forces.
The MP's tasks include:
The Military Police consists of the following elements:
Since 2013, the Military Police uses three uniforms, including the Combat-Uniform (ACU), the Service Uniform (ASU) and the Ceremonial Uniform. Both of Service and Ceremonial uniforms are on black. The ACU usually it is the same pattern of the standard uniform of the Albanian Land Forces, but together with the service uniform, it distinguishes from other militaries officers by a blue brassard worn around the left upper arm, with the "MP" lettering in white. This patch is attached to the uniform by hook and loop fastener.
In the modernization programme of the AAF, particular attention was paid to the Military Police. To bring them up to NATO standards, current efforts focus on upgrading equipment and armaments, enhancing their operational effectiveness, and combat training.
Although the MP employs various individual weapons to provide light firepower at short ranges, the standard weapon used by the ground force is the Beretta ARX160, which since 2015 has entirely replaced AK-47 variants. Also as the standard handgun, the MP uses Beretta PX4 9×19mm Parabellum which is widely used by all Albanian Armed Forces.
Support fire is provided by the Heckler & Koch MG4 light machine gun and the Heckler & Koch MG5 general-purpose machine gun. The most used sniper rifles are the Sako TRG-22 and TRG-44 to give the infantry a long-range weapon. The semi-automatic shotgun Benelli M4 Super 90 is used for door breaching and close-quarters combat. Hand grenades, fragmentation and smoke grenades along with the grenade launcher systems, such as the GLX160, are also used.
Since the late 1990s, the Military Police mostly operates with two variants of the Iveco VM 90 military vehicle. The VM 90T Torpedo used as transport vehicle and the VM 90P Protetto which is used as armored vehicle for interventions in combat situations. However, the vehicle will remain in service until the completion of their lifecycle, since their replacement has started in 2015 in favor of Iveco LMV.
In 2015, four Iveco LMV armored vehicles were made available to the MP. These vehicles will serve to increase the technical and operational capacities of the Military Police missions and duties as well as to develop, complete and increase the operational level of the unit to perform difficult operations in high-risk areas and beyond.