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CMPM, multinationality on the fields

By Cpl. Nicolas Marut
First published in
SFOR Informer #93, August 2, 2000

Mostar - Among all present units in the theatre, few are immersed in the local life as the Multinational Military Police Company (CMPM) of MND-Southeast. Created in March 1997, it regroups two French police platoons, one of Italian Carabinieris and one of Spanish Guardia Civil.
Its origin goes back to 1994. At that time, collaboration had been foreseen between these three corps that presented some similar features: The three are military forces in their country, but used as civilian police. The CMPM is realisation on the field of this arrangement.
"We have realised this old idea," explained Capt. Dominique Menetrey who commands the unit. Based at MND-SE HQ, in the Mostar-Ortijes camp, the CMPM is organised in Mostar in three platoons. A fourth French police platoon operates in the Rajlovac camp in Sarajevo.
The men of the CMPM do the same missions as the regular military police
-protection of SFOR men, circulation military police, fund escort and camp patrols. They also provide a part of the protection for the general commanding the division, and escort VIP's.
Added to all these activities, the company also monitors atmosphere in its AOR. The division is divided in three large areas in which they have daily multinational patrols.
"We go with an interpreter to see polices, the justice, customs stations and the town's houses," explained Staff Sgt. Jean-Luc Foubert, who is in charge of the Bosno-Croatian area. "We also link with the IPTF (UN International Police Task Force) that informs us on the kind problems we may encounter. Then, we visit refugee camps and returnees villages."
In Foubert's AOR, there are 45 villages like that where patrols go regularly thanks to tight planning.
"We can modify it according to problems met in a particular place," said Foubert, who in France commands a motorised brigade in the Landes. After every patrol, the leader makes a report with the information collected (number of people in a camp, material situation of reinstalled) that is transmitted then to the Division HQ.
A new mission appeared recently even though it doesn't appear in the original status of the company: it is mediation.
"By being in contact with the population during our daily patrols, we started knowing what they needed," said Menetrey. Then when inhabitants that they met told them of their material problems, men of CMPM try to put them in contact with the institution or the person that would be able to help them.
For example, they organised some medical visits recently with the SFOR doctor in the refugee camp of Blagaj near Mostar. They also contributed to the repairing of an electrical network of 35 homes in the valley of Doljani by intervening with the local company. They also forward problems to the CIMIC offices of the battle groups.
In an international unit, language problems are unavoidable. But they are compensated extensively, estimated Menetrey.
"Our multinationality allows us to create easily links with the other units on the field, whether they are Spanish, Italian or French," he insisted. "Besides, we have the same professional culture. And very concretely, that increases our strength since three nations contribute instead of one alone."

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: France, Italy
SFOR at Work