Learn of the men and women who walk the beat for the Emperor of Mankind – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
The Adeptus Arbites are the police force of the Adeptus Terra, devoted to enforcing Imperial law throughout the entire Imperium. Utterly dedicated and without mercy, the Arbites are feared throughout the galaxy, for they are the agents of a harsh law, where failure and incompetence are crimes, and the only punishment is death. Arbites are empowered to act as judge, jury and executioner – citizens have no rights, and only members of the Priesthood of Terra or the Inquisition could claim anything so elaborate as a trial.
The Adeptus Arbites enforce the Lex Imperialis, embodied within the great Book of Judgement. Their organisation represents the soldiers and police of the Adeptus Terra. Each of the Imperium’s worlds have their own government, laws, and their own local police forces to enforce those laws. The Arbites concern themselves only with the enforcement of the broader laws to which the entire Imperium is subject. The common duty of the Arbites is overseeing that the Governor of each world is regularly paying his planets Tithe. In the event of a rogue Governor or a major revolt which threatens Imperial rule, the Arbites will brutally intervene to restore order. As a result of their constant oversight the presence of Arbites are often a source of discontent for Governors, but something they must nonetheless tolerate.
“To serve the Emperor. To protect His domains. To judge and stand guard over His subjects. To carry the Emperor’s law to all worlds under His blessed protection. To pursue and punish those who trespassed against His word.”
– Oath sworn by Arbites cadets
The overall leader of the Adeptus Arbites is the Grand Provost Marshal, who represents the organization on the Senatorum Imperialis and oversees the organization at the Hall of Judgement on Terra. Below him are the Marshals of the Court which oversee galaxy-spanning precincts. Below the Marshals of the Court, the Arbites are internally divided into two subgroups; Judges, who deal with legal matters and the application of ten thousand years of case law and its precedents, and Arbitrators, the militant arm of the Arbites who perform the work necessary to apprehend and punish those who break the Emperor’s laws. Senior Arbites fulfill both roles, with Judges getting their hands dirty, and Arbitrators learning to preside over lengthy court trials.
The Adeptus Arbites maintains a presence on almost every Imperial world, headquartered in fortified Precinct-Fortresses also known as Courthouses. The courthouses are equipped to be self-sufficient and to support a complete Arbites army. They consist of armouries, dungeons, barracks, firing ranges, scriptories, archives, warehouses, kitchens, gymnasia and garages. Courthouses are sometimes a world’s only connection with the rest of the Imperium.
The men and women of the Adeptus Arbites are utterly devoted to their task and without mercy to those who break the Lex Imperialis. Arbites are usually recruited through the Schola Progenium, often favoring those who have displayed great force of will and brute strength.
The Adeptus Arbites are equipped to fight a minor war, but their main role is maintaining order. A single precinct courthouse functions as a base for a complete and fully-equipped army, capable of fielding vehicles. In combat Arbitrators wear carapace armour. Heavy gloves and boots protect the hands and feet, while the head is encased within an all-enclosing helmet equipped with a rebreather.
Standard personal weaponry is the Arbites combat shotgun, boltgun, grenade launcher, suppression shield and the power maul. Several types of grenades are used, both lethal and incapacitating. Some Patrol groups and Enforcers may use Cyber-Mastiffs to hunt down and catch criminal fugitives who attempt to escape. The Arbites also make use of a wide range of vehicles, such as Rhinos, Repressors, and Chimeras. They also make use of Tarantula automated turrets for crowd control, riot suppression, and defending their precincts.
The Arbites also maintain a small fleet of patrol craft and counter-insurgency vessels, most notably among these the Punisher Class Strike Cruiser. The Arbites fleet also operates logistical vessels, transports, and other support craft.
“Remember that it is the duty of the mighty Adeptus Astartes Chapters and the glorious Imperial Guard to wage the Emperor’s wars and the duty of the fearless Imperial Navy to guard the Emperor’s spaceways, but it is to his loyal servants the Adeptus Arbites that His Divine Majesty in His infinite wisdom entrusts the most sacred duty of all – Keeping in check the lawless heretic rabble that passes itself off as the Emperor’s worthy subjects.”
– Familiar Arbites precinct-house joke
~Halt Citizen, I AM the Lex Imperialis