We are back from our Highland excursion which was loads of fun, despite me proving once again that no matter where I go, I am a midge magnet and losing my hat on top of a mountain!
Now back the topic in hand with the next in my articles on the State of the Imperium, this time focusing on the forces of law in the 41st milleneum and the challenges they face
The vast sprawl of the Imperium has presented a unique challenge to the law enforcement community. Faced with everything from Hive Worlds with populations in the billions to frontier outposts and mining stations the Imperium has split enforcement into several distinct departments, each with their own responsibilities and tactics.
Once the heavy handed thugs of the Dark Ages of the Imperium, the Adeptus Arbites have learned from past mistakes and now instead of responding to every situation with a shock stick or volley of shotgun fire, the Arbites have developed and expanded into a more modern police service and are now a force for good, rather than suppression within much of the Imperium.
The most commonly seen members of the Arbites are the patrol units who manage everyday law and order. Equipped with flak jackets and side arms they present a more professional if no less intimidating sight than in past times. Tasked with keeping the peace in the urban sprawls of the Imperium they are increasingly being given better and more advanced equipment ranging from camera drones to communicators and even new AI units.
For the most part the Arbites Patrols are capable of dealing with general law enforcement tasks and have the power to act as judge, jury and at times, executioner which makes them an object of fear with the general populace, something the Arbites heartily approve of as a healthy dose of respect or even fear makes handling potentially dangerous situations more manageable.
All Arbites Patrol units are also trained at riot control and small tactic actions as the galaxy is becoming a more violent place, despite the advances in civilisation in recent centuries and to counter this, the Arbites have recently begun recruiting non humans and abhumans into their ranks as it has become apparent that their specialist talents and fresh views on law enforcement are a much needed shot in the arm for the Arbite department.
While most of the department deal with patrolling the urban sprawls and regular law enforcement duties, some crimes are so unusual or heinous that they require a special response and when this occurs, the Patrol calls in one of the following departments to deal with it.
The Arbites also field an extensive department of plain clothes detectives for dealing with serious crimes such as murder, organised crime, netjacking and so on. Trained to think and act as individuals, the Detectives job is often difficult and dangerous, involving undercover work and infiltrating crime organisations and the mortality rate is rather high but most detectives are utterly dedicated to their jobs.
Within the Detectives ranks are specialist teams who are trained in dealing with some of the more unsavoury crimes such Psyker related incidents and the dramatic increase in cyber crimes since the technological breakthroughs of the past centuries. As such, the Detective Department is always on the lookout for new members and as with much of the Imperium, many non-human races have been recruited to the Arbites and especially into the Detectives as they are capable of operating in areas that normal humans are incapable of. Similarly a number of posthumans and cyborgs have also recently been recruited as their special abilities are much in demand in an increasingly technologically advanced Imperium.
On several worlds there are now fledgling Pskyer specialists, Espers and Precogs who use their powers to solve crimes. These somewhat secretive sections are mistrusted by many, even amongst their colleagues on the force but even their harshest critics cannot argue against the spectacular success rates these newest members of the Arbites have become in solving some of the most fiendish of crimes.
In an environment where many criminal organisations have access to advanced weaponry and cybernetic implants, let alone lawless xenos species, the Arbites have had to respond with the creation of a new force trained in military tactics and with heavier and more advanced weaponry. Known as Extra Special Weapons And Tactics or ESWAT, their ranks are formed from veterans from the Arbites department and ex military. Each Arbites station will have an ESWAT team who are often called in to clear dangerous criminal elements.
With the emergence of dangerous Psykers and rogue AI units, ESWAT troops now incorporate combat Espers and new combat cyborgs and equipment is also being upgraded to include cutting edge military equipment including power armour and even tactical dreadnought armour. This, along with their specialist training allows them to deal with pretty much any threat they may face and in any environment, including zero g space.
While the Arbite Patrols deal with the urban sprawls of the Imperium, many outland stations and smaller settlements don't warrant having an entire section house so the wild frontier relies on the Imperial Marshal service.
These highly individual characters are as tough as nails and must bring law to the lawless with a combination of low cunning, brutality and original thinking. Not surprisingly, this tends to attract the more eccentric types and a typical Imperial Marshal will wear whatever they want, be it power armour or hawaii shirt and be armed to the teeth with an eclectic selection of exotic weapons and equipment ranging from Imperial to local and even Xenos manufacture.
Depending on the lawlessness of the planet, a Marshal will sometime operate by themselves but will more often than not recruit some trusted allies to help them about their duties. These duties range from dealing with Grox rustling to pirate raids and Xenos marauders so these bands of law officers tend to shoot first and ask questions later. This cavalier attitude has made them the darlings of the Tri-D movie but the citizens they protect often have more mixed views of their protectors, sometimes finding the destruction they cause worse than that done by any hapless criminal.