The Special Mobile Force is a paramilitary unit that serves as the main internal security force in Mauritius. As Mauritius has no dedicated military, mainly due to the cost that it would incur, the SMF forms part of the Mauritius Police Force, with its personnel on long term rotation from the police force.
In the picture, SMF inspection 1968: Centre Lt Col Ward, back to camera RSM downs, partly hidden right Captain Rochecouste, Man with bowler hat is the Governor General Sir Len Williams. Image shared by: Alasdair Ward
The SMF was formed following the withdrawal of the British garrison on Mauritius in 1960. The primary task of the SMF when it was formed was to ensure the internal security of the country. As formed, the SMF was made up of members of the local police force and Mauritian veterans of the Second World War.
The SMF is organized as a ground infantry unit, with six rifle companies, two mobilisable paramilitary companies, and one engineer company, according to the IISS Military Balance 2007. It engages extensively in civic works projects. The Coast Guard has four patrol craft for search-and-rescue missions and surveillance of territorial waters. A 100-member police helicopter squadron assists in search-and-rescue operations. There also is a special supporting unit of 270 members trained in riot control.
Military advisers from the United Kingdom and India work with the SMF, the Coast Guard, and the Police Helicopter Unit, and Mauritian police officers are trained in the United Kingdom, India, and France. The United States provides training to Mauritian Coast Guard officers in such fields as seamanship and maritime law enforcement.
Before the creation of the SMF, the country’s military force was controlled by the British Government and the country’s security was backed by the KAR (King’s African Rifles) Regiment.