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Malaya Police (during the emergency).....

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  • 3 weeks later...

Found this which I thought might be of interest.....................


With the start of the Malayan Emergency in 1948 there was an immediate need for European owned and managed Rubber and Palm Oil Estates and Tin Mines to be protected by armed guards. To meet this demand the rank of Special Police Constable was created with recruits coming mainly from the indigenous Malay population.Few if any of these recruits had military training and as the regular Police Force had neither the time or personnel to provide training and leadership a new rank of European Police Sergeant was established,prior to this the lowest European rank was Cadet Asst.Superintendent of Police.Initially these Sergeants were ex British Army N.C.O.s and some serving N.C.O.s who were given special permission to transfer by the British Army in Malaya plus ex members of the Palestine Police Force,the total number of these Sergeants never,I believe, exceeded approx.500 and were recruited between the start of the Emergency in June 1948 until the end of 1949 when the rank was replaced by that of Police Lieutenant. . Initially their main task was to train the Special Constables in small Arms use,supervise the building of fortifications,lines of fire etc and general administration of SC detachments guarding Estates and to provide leadership for the newly forming Jungle Squads. On large Estates a Sergeant might be permanently stationed there but it was more normal for the Sergeant to be in charge of the defences of a number,responsible for the day to day adminstration and ongoing training of the Special Constable garrisons.Wherever he was based he usually had a small force of Special Constables with him for base defence,escort and rapid response duties. By late 1949 there was general discontent amongst the Sergeants,low pay,poor conditions and a high mortality rate (14 were killed in action during 1948/49) were having their effect on recruiting so it was decided to scrap the rank of European Sergeant and to replace it with the unique rank,for the Malayan Police,of Police Lieutenant, with improved pay and conditions. The strength of this new rank was to be about 650 and of the European Sergeants already serving some 240 opted to accept the new rank,the rest left as their contracts expired. A recruiting drive was now started through the British Army and British Newspapers but it was not altogether succesful in bringing numbers up to strength and,subsequently,some recruiting was done in Australia. However numbers did increase enough to allow for the establishment of offensive Jungle Squads operating in Police Districts which eventually amalgamated into the Police Field Force which operated throughout the country. The Briggs Plan (the resettlement of urban and rural Chinese into fortified villages) was,by 1953,having a severe effect on the Communist Terrorists and they were finding it extremely difficult to obtain food and intelligence, thus their ability to operate in the rural/urban areas was becoming impossible. From this time on the number of serving Police Lieutenants gradually decreased as the need for their services and the strength of the Special Constables was run down. During this period (1948-53) the the total number of Police(all ranks) KIA was 1252* of which 56 were European Sgts.and Police Lts.Decorations awarded to these two ranks were George Medal 5,Colonial Police Medal for Gallantry 4. In addition the various Malay States made their own awards but I have no record for these.These two ranks were recruited specifically for the Malayan Emergency on three year contracts with a small gratuity upon contract completion. They were not members of the Colonial Police Service and thus they and their dependants did not qualify for pensions of any sort, efforts were made to get the British Colonial Office to agree to grant disability and widows pensions but without success*. The high mortality rate amongst these two ranks during this period (1948-59)can be attributed to a number of factors,ignoring the Communist opposition.Firstly,the Crown Agents in London made very little effort to select people with the right qualifications i.e.combat,infantry,weapons or Far East experience.Secondly,the Malayan Police offered no introductory course on anything and it was not unusual for a new arrival to find himself leading a squad of men he couldn't talk to,armed with weapons he wasn't familiar with and operating in terrain he did not understand. Finally,although most of these Officers were stationed in rural areas where roads were few and left little choice in which route to take for day to day duties,the usual transport supplied was Landrover, Austin A40 or Chevrolet troop carrier;all soft skinned vehicles quite unable to withstand a road ambush which,at this time, accounted for many of the casualties incurred.From 1951 onwards Armoured Personnel Carriers started arriving in ever increasing numbers with a resulting drop in succesful road ambushes. Police Lts.continued to serve,in diminishing numbers,until the early '60s.The last P/Lt. to be killed in action was E.F.Southey in Selangor in December 1957,bringing the total of European Sgts.and Police Lieutenants killed in action since 1948 to sixtysix with a further twentytwo dying from wounds,disease and accidents,  no figures are available for those who were wounded and discharged.



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Going out on a limb, I'd guess that this cannot represent all the P.O.s who die/were killed during the Emergency.  If nothing else, unsuspecting village constables must have been prime targets during the early years of the insurrgency and I believe the trackers used by the Army were typically police employees/mambers and must hacve sufered losses too.

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