Gitlab-ce 10.1.x master branch not protected by default

Hi, I’m new here in this forum but have been using gitlab-ce for a while now.

Few months ago I upgraded my gitlab instance
from 8.12.3 to 8.16.8
and then to 8.17.8
and then to 10.1.1.

Everything looks perfect with the new display and all. But then I realize something: the master branch is not protected by default on new projects (ie. the projects created after gitlab upgraded to 10.1.1). The old projects (created while still on 8.12-8.16) still have master branch protected though.

I tried to make sure by alternating the “Settings->Default branch protection” from fully protected to not protected back and forth, but to no effect. Upgrading to 10.1.5 doesn’t change anything in this area, eventhough the doc (v10.1.5/doc/user/project/ still have “Note
that the master branch is protected by default” phrase in it.

Is there any thoughts on how to get the right behaviour back? I need to have master branch protected by default.

Thank you in advance.