The Royal Navy Police (RNP) were formed as a successor to the Regulating Branch, which previously maintained discipline, administered the Naval Discipline Act and the Queens Regulations for the Royal Navy. Whilst they still have 'Whole Ship' commitments, the RNP are now more in line with the other two service polices forces, with emphasis on their constabulary role and the detective responsibilities within the Royal Navy
There is now a more formal command structure to the RNP than previously seen in the Regulating Branch, where the Naval Provost Marshals were in the main responsible to each of the area Flag Officers. The chart below indicates that the central focus of command and the management control lies with the Provost Marshal (Navy), who's immediate superior is the RN Principal Security Advisor, at present a Captain RN. The management chain then runs to the First Sea Lord.
The major difference is that PM(N) is now responsible for all RNP investigations, which are totally independent of the Chain of Command. PM(N) now receives a letter of Appointment from the First Sea Lord in which he invites direct access should the need arise. The purpose of this initiative is to ensure the independence of investigations
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of the Regulating Branch and RN Police Association