Defence and armed forces – guidance

MOD Guard Service

The MOD Guard Service complements the MOD police, taking on guarding duties that don't need police powers or armed personnel.


The Ministry of Defence Guard service is some 2,800 strong and guards over 200 MOD sites across the UK. This includes high profile locations such as MOD Main Building in London, RAF Menwith Hill and HMNB Clyde at Faslane.

MGS officers are usually the first point of contact with the MOD for employees, visitors and contractors. Their principal role is access control which includes:

  • control of entry and exit
  • permanent and temporary pass issue
  • searching of vehicles, personnel and baggage
  • control of keys

Other duties

MGS officers undertake internal and external foot and vehicle patrols day and night.

Foot patrolling covers both buildings and perimeter fencing and on some sites includes patrols by trained teams of dogs and handlers.

MGS officers work in control rooms and monitor CCTV systems, steering cameras onto areas of interest. At some sites MGS work closely with other guarding providers as part of an integrated security solution for the site.

Specialist duties as some sites

  • helicopter marshalling
  • first aid
  • scanning of mail and baggage
  • security sweeps
  • security officer duties
  • health and safety guidance

History and organisation

The MGS has its roots in the need for security and patrolling staff at nearly every defence establishment. Originally managed locally, guards were brought together in a corporate structure in 2004 when the MOD Police and Guarding Agency (MDPGA) was formed. In April 2013, the MDPGA was disbanded and the MGS joined the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

MGS is organised into five regional HQs located at HMNB Clyde, York, Shrewsbury, Bath and Aldershot.

HQ MGS is located at MDP Wethersfield in Essex. The Head of Unarmed Guarding is responsible for the provision of strategic leadership, policy and guidance, whilst MGS B1 Ops is responsible for the overall management of the MGS organisation.

All new entrants must be medically fit and will be subject to security vetting. New entrants must also pass the MGS foundation training course. Information on joining the MGS is on the civilservicejobs website.


The entry grade to the MGS is generally at basic guard level, Civilian Security Officer 5 (CSO5).

Working hours and leave

Most MGS officers work shifts, working on average 42 hours per week. Leave allowance is 25 days per year rising to 30 days after 5 years service plus 10½ public holidays and privilege days.


There is a choice between final salary or a stakeholder pension giving flexibility to choose the pension that best suits individual needs.

Career development

There is a range of development opportunities both within MGS and the wider MOD with the opportunity to progress into management positions.

Equal Opportunities policy

The MOD is an Equal Opportunities employer and seeks to reflect the diverse community it serves. Applications are welcome from anyone who meets the stated requirements. These posts are designated non-reserved and are therefore open to non UK nationals who meet the Civil Service nationality requirements.


A foundation course is mandatory for all new recruits and consists of a pre-learning pack and a residential element at our training school at the MDP HQ Wethersfield, Essex. The course covers the practical skills and knowledge needed to provide a professional guarding service and leads to a BTEC level 2 award in unarmed guarding from the Security Industry Authority.

Data Protection

All information supplied to the MOD in connection with an application will be treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

How to join us

To join MGS, you do not need formal academic qualifications, nor be of any minimum height. However, all new entrants must pass a selection interview and be security vetted. You will also be required to attend and pass the MGS foundation course.

For details of Ministry of Defence (MOD) civilian jobs please see Civil Service Jobs.

You can also telephone 0800 345 7772 with any enquiries.