Burma Military Police

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'The Burma Military Police is a semi-military force intended to perform at the cheapest possible cost :

a. Frontier Watch and Ward duties
b. Deal with minor insurrections amongst the less civilized hill tribes
c. transport treasure
d. guard and transport long term prisoners to and from jail.'[1]

In 1886 the British authorities wished to reduce the cost of garrisoning Upper Burma and the Burma Military Police was raised to replace regular Indian Army units.

European Officers were seconded from the Indian Army (and sometimes from the British Army) and Indian Officers and men were recruited from the Punjab and Nepal. Favoured classes were Gurkhas, Pathans, Garwhalis, Punjabi Muslims, Kumaonis and Dogras. Pensions could be received after 15 years service.

Non-Indians were first recruited in 1909 when Chins were accepted in some units. This was followed by the recruitment of Kachins and other hill tribes, with very few Burmans being enlisted.

Another definition of duties, applicable to frontier battalions rather than those in the large towns, was:

The duties of the force on the frontier are :

Policing the frontier.
Repelling local raids.
Providing escorts to civil officers.
Furnishing columns for such work as the slave releasing in the Triangle and Hukawng valley and punitive columns.
Intelligence. [2]

Many Gurkhas served in the Burmese Military Police. Probably the best single source explaining the origins and evolution of most, if not all, the numerous BMP battalions raised since 1886 may be found in The Lineages and Composition of the Gurkha Regiments in the British Service (J.L. Chapple, 1985) published by the Gurkha Museum [3]


  • 1886 a number of units (including the Mogaung Levy) raised for service in Upper Burma
  • 1914 Putao Battalion raised
  • 1920 Putao Battalion disbanded
  • 1937 became the Burma Frontier Force on separation of Burma from India
  • 1945 became the Burma Frontier Constabulary

External Links

Historical books online

  • "Police : Military" by Lieut-Colonel S C F Peile, Inspector-General of Police, Burma, page 246 Twentieth century impressions of Burma : its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources, edited by Arnold Wright 1910 seasiavisions.library.cornell.edu
  • The Pacification of Burma 
by Sir Charles Crosthwaite. Chief Commissioner of Burma 1887-1890 1912 Archive.org. This edition which has illustrations, is missing first page of Preface.
    • Page 131 footnote refers to History of the Burma Military Police by Lieut-Colonel S C F Peile (Rangoon 1906). This book is available at the National Library of India, Calcutta[4]
  • "The Burma and Assam Military Police" page 94 Report Of The Army In India Committee 1919-20 (1920) Archive.org.
  • The White Belts: History of the Corps of Military Police by Lt Col R Ganapathi, CMP Centre and School, Bangalore 1982 HathiTrust Digital Library.


  1. Barry Renfrew in his book Forgotten Regiments : Regular and Volunteer Units of the British Far East, quoted by Harry Fecitt in a GMIC thread Burma Military Police - a request to share research
  2. Harry Fecitt in a GMIC thread Burma Military Police - a request to share research
  3. ’Aberdeen Medals’ in a GMIC thread Burma Military Police - a request to share research
  4. National Library of India catalogue reference The book is 34 pages