Captured persons (CPERS) - Core Infantry - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

P3-155 Captured persons (CPERS)

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Core Infantry Procedures

Version 4 / 10min read / Updated Sun 08 May 2022 / 3902 views / of verified

Table of Contents

    An introduction to Captured persons (CPERS) 

    In any conventional war, understanding the rules and procedures surrounding the capture of individuals is not only beneficial to the success of your mission but also imperative to upholding the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC). Captured Persons, or CPERS (“see-perz”), is an umbrella term used to identify individuals that friendly forces have apprehended within their jurisdiction as an armed force.

    As with the LOAC, for our purposes adherence to CPERS handling permits more dynamic and interesting operations, typically through roleplay and intelligence gathering.

    In most cases, a CPERS is either:

    • An enemy combatant who is unwilling or unable to continue to fight
    • An individual who has been apprehended for reasons of security
    • An individual who has been apprehended for committing a criminal offence

    Avoid other terms such as “PoW” or “detainee” when identifying a CPERS, such meanings may be assuptive and not apply to the individual in question.


    CPERS Quick Reference

    Below is a quick-reference for CPERS, these concepts are expanded in detail later in this SOP.


    • As a captor, your captive’s safety is your responsibility.
    • There are three types of CPERS: PoWs, Internees and Detainees.
    • Remember the “Three Ss” technique (Stop, Search, Safeguard).


    • Enature your captive is safe and medically sound.
    • You can question but you cannot interrogate.
    • CPERS should never be stripped of clothing or protective equipment.


    • Be firm and clear when capturing individuals.
    • Only search when necessary and only confiscate the appropriate items.


    • Ensure movement is planned and safe.
    • Use vehicles as needed.


    The 3 main types of CPERS

    Prisoners of War

    • A Prisoner of War (PoW) is a CPERS of combatant status and their military membership must be distinguishable in combat. To achieve this, they should be wearing military clothing such as uniforms, camouflage, protective equipment and combat gear. If an individual who claims to be a combatant does not don this type of attire they may be susceptible to miscatagorisation and mistreatment.

    • As a combatant, they are not only to be held accountable to international law, but also to the LOAC and their captors are responsible for reporting incidents. However, it is in the nature of PoWs to be immune to punishment for committing warlike acts prior to their capture as it may have been within their jurisdiction to do so. For example, one soldier killing an enemy soldier in combat may not be murder if it was done within the LOAC.

    • Insurgents, Guerrillas and Militias may also be permitted PoW status should they visually distinguish themselves from civilians (as mentioned above) and adhere to the LOAC.



    • An Internee is a civilian CPERS that is apprehended temporarily for reasons of security or authorised procedure.

    • They should be released as soon as the reason for their internment ceases to exist.

    Examples for apprehension are:

    • civilians who are on friendly occupied territory
    • civilians who may jeopardise your mission
    • civilians who are at risk to themselves or others



    • A civilian CPERS who has been detained because they have committed or are suspected of committing a criminal offence against the laws of the territory in which they have been captured or against the capturing force.

    • Any individual arrested that falls neither into the PoW or Internee category will be considered a Detainee and treated accordingly until otherwise changed. Mercenaries are to be considered Detainees once apprehended.

    • It is not within the authority of our forces to conduct a Detainee’s trial, only proper arrest and treatment.



    Treatment of CPERS

    All Captured Persons under the control of our forces are to be given a minimum standard of treatment and care within the operational confines of the mission. The safety of yourself, your captive and other individuals should all be prioritised alongside your mission objectives.


    The “Three Ss” acronym

    An easy method of remembering the most important points of controlling a CPERS situation is the “Three Ss” acronym:

    • [STOP] Apply the best methods of stopping and capturing a CPERS correctly

    • [SEARCH] Remember which individuals should be searched, but also what should and shouldn’t be taken from them.

    • [SAFEGUARD] Once captured, a CPERS is your responsibility and their treatment and safety is in your hands


    Basic Rights

    • medical treatment whenever possible or as soon as required

    • suitable accommodation, even if temporary, should be provided

    • religious practise, e.g. praying

    • clothing and personal protective equipment

    • protection from curiosity and humiliation, such as the press or protestors. Photographs should only to be taken for official purposes, for example, intelligence gathering or establishing identity.


    Prohibited Acts against CPERS

    • Violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being

    • Interrogation, although questioning is permitted

    • The taking of possessions for any unofficial purpose

    • The unauthorised trial of CPERS



    Capture of CPERS

    Depending on the situation, individuals may either choose to be captured or be captured against their will.


    Signs of individuals WILLING to be captured:

    • Surrendering
    • Waving
    • Lying down
    • Moving towards you
    • Vacating their cover/concealment
    • Verbally telling you


    Signs of individuals UNWILLING to be captured:

    • Continuing to fight
    • Retreating or repositioning
    • Holding their cover/concealment
    • Noncommunicating or aggravating


    Search and Confiscation

    Once captured, individuals should only be searched for security purposes and operational integrity. For example, an Internee who has been captured for the sake of their safety during a firefight would have no reason to be searched. Whereas a Detainee who has been apprehended after committing a crime should be searched for items that may cause harm or provide intellegence. Moreover, protective equipment and personal items should never be removed from possession of a captive unless absolutely required. When in doubt, only confiscate what you must for security purposes and operational integrity.


    • Examples of items you SHOULD remove from CPERS:

      • Explosives and pyrotechnics
      • Maps and intelligence
      • Communication equipment (radios, flashlights, phones)


    • Examples of items you SHOULD NOT remove from CPERS:

      • Personal items (watches, family photos, wallets, etc.)
      • Protective equipment (body armour, helmets, ear protection, etc.)


    Storing and transferring CPERS

    Avoid placing individuals near firing positions. Once stored, an active CPERS should be guarded as regularly as possible in the situation - an active CPERS is a CPERS that is responsive and is clearly being roleplayed. Active CPERS cannot be left alone, whereas inactive CPERS can be stored in a safe place if at least 1 minute has passed.

    The main points of information a new captor will need follows the simple “What, Where, When” method: 

    • What is the CoC’s plan for them
    • Where is their equipment or intel (if applicable)
    • When were they captured, when is the next friendly unit arriving, when should they be moved etc. etc.


    Movement of CPERS

    It is important to know how to safely and effectively transport CPERS without jeopardising your mission or breaching protocol.


    Planned Methods of Movement

    No CPERS should be moved without necessity or communication. Make sure there is a need to move the individual and your allies know this. Moving a CPERS without the knowledge of friendly forces or with no reason may result in detrimental incidents. Thirdly, as with most military decisions, it is important to have a plan of movement not only for the captive’s safety but for your own. communication is key and more often than not your Chain of Command will know how and where he wishes the captive to be moved.  


    (Below: An example of an individual wearing appropriate PPE)



    This SOP has been contributed to by 3 editors:
    Major James
    Captain Jari
    Specialist 3rd Class Noah_Hero

    UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP)
    are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
    - US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
    - Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
    - The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
    - Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
    - Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)

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