Second Rotation of IMP in Kabul
25 November 2015
Policing is a tough job.
Being a Military Policeman at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul is even tougher when dealing with a world of different nationalities and languages.
Fortunately for the deployed Australian Army Military Police a bit of Aussie friendliness goes a long way towards crossing the language gap.
Four soldiers, from the 1st Military Police Battalion in Brisbane, are integrated into a 16-strong Danish-led International Military Police (IMP) team for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
They also work closely with soldiers from the Turkish Army who are responsible for the security of HKIA, which is a sprawling base the size of a small town and currently home to thousands of military personnel and civilian contractors.
Close to 250 Australian Defence Force personnel are deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Highroad, which is Australia's contribution to the NATO-led mission Resolute Support.
IMP Supervisor, Corporal (Cpl) Aaron Wilcox, said his role as a manager of the unit's military police investigators was to ensure the safety of all the troops and civilians who worked at HKIA.
"Our team is responsible for policing the rules and regulations of the base, including traffic control, weapon states and dress standards," he said.
"We also conduct security and identification checks and search for prohibited items and substances at the entry control points.
"This requires us to liaise with people from more than 40 countries as we conduct our investigations.
"We are also responsible for the security of visiting VIPs from the nations contributing to the Resolute Support mission."
Cpl Wilcox said a highlight of his deployment was being part of a capable team of soldiers in a policing role.
"We are getting out and doing our job," he said.
"The people at HKIA respect us because we are making a difference and helping them stay safe.
Cpl Wilcox said while the Australians worked to their Army policing standards, the Royal Danish Army military police had taught the Aussies different professional skills.
"The Danes are also learning a lot from us because we are very detailed in our investigations and spend a lot of time getting to know the people of the HKIA community," he said.
Private (Pte) Jessica Clune, of IMP, said a highpoint was working in the international environment of HKIA.
"It's been exciting to be doing my job on deployment and amazing to learn how the military forces from across the world go about their business," she said.
"Sometimes it can be a challenge working with the other nationalities and trying to understand their languages, but we collaborate well and get the job done.
"The Danes have been teaching us Danish words and we have Aussie words to teach them every day.
"We also work closely with the Turks at the entry control points and when they find prohibited items our job is to control the scene, assist in the search and collect the evidence for our reports."
Pte Clune said another important task of the IMP was working with the HKIA Hospital Emergency Department when casualties are admitted.
"Our job is to clear casualties of weapons and explosive ordnance before they are admitted into the facility," she said.
"It was eerie when the United Kingdom Puma helicopter crashed on the base on October 11th because we were rehearsing for a mass-casualty aircraft crash scenario at the hospital at the time."