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|Type|| Gendarmerie |
|Size||c. 100,000 members (2014) |
|Part of||French Armed Forces|
|Motto(s)||Pour la Patrie, l'Honneur et le Droit|
(For the country, honor and law)
|Directeur-Général||Général d'Armée Christian Rodriguez|
The National Gendarmerie (French : Gendarmerie nationale [ʒɑ̃daʁməʁi nɑsjɔnal] ), along with the National Police, is one of two national police forces of France. It is a branch of the French Armed Forces placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior, with additional duties from the Ministry of Defense. Its responsibilities include policing smaller towns, rural and suburban areas, with subdivisions like the GSPR, while the Police Nationale , a civilian force, is in charge of policing cities. Because of its military status, the Gendarmerie also fulfills a range of military and defence missions including having a cybercrime division. The force has a strength of more than 100,000 personnel, as of 2014.
The Gendarmerie is the heir to the Maréchaussée, the oldest police force in France, dating back to the Middle Ages. The Gendarmerie has influenced the culture and traditions of gendarmerie forces all around the world, especially in independent countries from the former French colonial empire.
|French Armed Forces|
The Gendarmerie is the direct descendant of the Marshalcy of the ancien regime, more commonly known by its French title, the Maréchaussée, an institution that lasted from the medieval times until the French Revolution.
During the Middle Ages, there were two Grand Officers of the Kingdom of France with police responsibilities: The Marshal of France and the Constable of France. The military policing responsibilities of the Marshal of France were delegated to the Marshal's provost, whose force was known as the Marshalcy because its authority ultimately derived from the Marshal. The Marshalcy dates back to the Hundred Years War, with some historians tracing it back to the early twelfth century.
The second organisation, the Constabulary (French: Connétablie), was under the command of the Constable of France. The constabulary was regularised as a military body in 1337.
In 1415 the Maréchaussée fought in the Battle of Agincourt and their commander, the Prévôt des Maréchaux (Provost of the Marshals), Gallois de Fougières, was killed in battle. This history was rediscovered in 1934, and Gallois de Fougières was then officially recorded as the first known gendarme to have died in the line of duty. His remains are now buried under the monument to the gendarmerie in Versailles.
Under King Francis I (r. 1515–1547), the Maréchaussée was merged with the Constabulary. The resulting force was also known as the Maréchaussée, or, formally, the Constabulary and Marshalcy of France (French: connétablie et maréchaussée de France). Unlike the former constabulary, the new Maréchaussée was not a fully militarized force.
In 1720, the Maréchaussée was officially attached to the Household of the King (Maison du Roi), together with the gendarmerie of the time, which was not a police force at all, but a royal guard. During the eighteenth century, the marshalcy developed in two distinct areas: increasing numbers of Marshalcy Companies (compagnies de marechaussée), dispersed into small detachments, were stationed around the French countryside to maintain law and order, while specialist units provided security for royal and strategic sites such as palaces and the mint (e.g., the garde de la prévôté de l'hôtel du roi and the prévôté des monnaies de Paris.)
While its existence ensured the relative safety of French rural districts and roads, visitors from England, which had nothing but the not very effective parish constables, saw the Maréchaussée, with its armed and uniformed patrols, as royal soldiers with an oppressive role and so a symbol of foreign tyranny.On the eve of the 1789 French Revolution, the Maréchaussée numbered 3,660 men divided into small brigades (a "brigade" in this context being a squad of ten to twenty men). Their limited numbers and scattered deployment rendered the Maréchaussée ineffective in controlling the "Great Fear" of July through August, 1789.
During the revolutionary period, the Maréchaussée commanders generally placed themselves under the local constitutional authorities. Despite their connection with the king, they were therefore perceived as a force favoring the reforms of the French National Assembly.
As a result, the Maréchaussée Royale was not disbanded but simply renamed as the gendarmerie nationale (Law of 16 February 1791). Its personnel remained unchanged, and the functions of the force remained much as before. However, from this point, the gendarmerie, unlike the Maréchaussée, became a fully militarized force. During the revolutionary period, the main force responsible for policing was the National Guard. Although the Maréchaussée had been the main police force of the ancien regime, the gendarmerie was initially a full-time auxiliary to the National Guard militia.
In 1791 the newly named gendarmerie nationale was grouped into 28 divisions, each commanded by a colonel responsible for three départements. In turn, two companies of gendarmes under the command of captains were based in each department. This territorial basis of organisation continued throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Under Napoléon, the numbers and responsibilities of the gendarmerie—renamed gendarmerie impériale—were expanded significantly. In contrast to the mounted Maréchaussée, the gendarmerie were both horse and foot personnel; in 1800, these numbered approximately 10,500 of the former and 4,500 of the later, respectively.
In 1804 the first Inspector General of Gendarmerie was appointed and a general staff established—based out of the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris. Subsequently, special gendarmerie units were created within the Imperial Guard for combat duties in French occupied Spain.
Following the Second Restoration of 1815, the gendarmerie was reduced in numbers to about 18,000 and reorganised into departmental legions. Under King Louis Phillippe a "gendarmerie of Africa" was created for service in Algeria and during the Second Empire the Imperial Guard Gendarmerie Regiment was re-established. The majority of gendarmes continued in what was now the established role of the corps—serving in small, sedentary detachments as armed rural police. Under the Third Republic the ratio of foot to mounted gendarmes increased and the numbers directly incorporated in the French Army with a military police role reduced.
In 1901, the École des officiers de la gendarmerie nationale was established to train its officers.
Five battles are remembered on the flag of the Gendarmerie:
The gendarmerie is still sometimes referred to as the maréchaussée (being the old name for the service). The gendarmes are also occasionally called pandores, which is a slang term derived from an 18th-century Hungarian word for "frontier guards." The symbol of the gendarmerie is a stylized grenade, which is also worn by the Italian Carabinieri and the Grenadier Guards in Britain. The budget in 2008 was approximately 7.7 billion euros.
The equivalent Dutch force, Royal Marechaussee , uses officially the old French term--which King William I, when assuming power after the fall of Napoleon, considered preferable to "gendarmerie".
In French, the term "police" not only refers to the forces, but also to the general concept of "maintenance of law and order" (policing). The Gendarmerie's missions belong to three categories:
These missions include:
The Gendarmerie, while remaining part of the French armed forces, has been attached to the Ministry of the Interior since 2009. Criminal investigations are run under the supervision of prosecutors or investigating magistrates. Gendarmerie members generally operate in uniform, and, only occasionally, in plainclothes.
The Director-general of the Gendarmerie (DGGN) is appointed by the Council of Ministers, with the rank of Général d'Armée. The current Director-General is Général Christian Rodriguez who took office on November 1, 2019.
The Director-General organizes the operation of the Gendarmerie at two levels:
The Gendarmerie headquarters, called the Directorate-General of the National Gendarmerie (Fr: Direction générale de la Gendarmerie nationale (DGGN)), long located in downtown Paris, had been relocated since 2012 to Issy-les-Moulineaux, a southern Parisian suburb.
The Directorate-General of the national gendarmerie includes:
The main components of the organization are the following:
The above-mentioned organizations report directly to the Director General (DGGN) with the exception of the Republican Guard, which reports to the Île-de-France region.
The reserve force numbers 30,000 (not included in the 100,000 total). It is managed by the Departmental Gendarmerie at the regional level.
The Departmental Gendarmerie, or Gendarmerie Départementale, also named «La Blanche»(The White), is the most numerous part of the Gendarmerie, is in charge of policing small towns and rural areas. Its territorial divisions are based on the administrative divisions of France, particularly the departments from which the Departmental Gendarmerie derives its name. The Departmental Gendarmerie carries out the general public order duties in municipalities with a population of up to 20000 citizens. When that limit is exceeded, the jurisdiction over the municipality is turned over to the National Police.
It is divided into 13 metropolitan regions(including Corsica), themselves divided into groupements (one for each of the 100 département, thus the name), themselves divided into compagnies (one for each of the 342 arrondissements).
It maintains gendarmerie brigades throughout the rural parts of the territory. There are two kind of brigades:
In addition, it has specialised units:
In addition, the Gendarmerie runs a national criminal police institute (Institut de recherche criminelle de la gendarmerie nationale) specializing in supporting local units for difficult investigations.
The research units may be called into action by the judiciary even within cities (i.e. in the National Police's area of responsibility). As an example, the Paris research section of the Gendarmerie was in charge of the investigations into the vote-rigging allegations in the 5th district of Paris (see corruption scandals in the Paris region).
Gendarmes normally operate in uniform. They may operate in plainclothes only for specific missions and with their supervisors' authorisation.
The Mobile Gendarmerie, or Gendarmerie Mobile, also named « La Jaune » (The Yellow), is currently divided into 7 Defense zones (Zones de Défense). It comprises 18 Groupings (Groupements de Gendarmerie mobile) featuring 109 squadrons for a total of approx. 12,000 men and women.
Its main responsibilities are:
Nearly 20% of the Mobile Gendarmerie squadrons are permanently deployed on a rotational basis in the French overseas territories. Other units deploy occasionally abroad alongside French troops engaged in military operations (called external operations or OPEX).
The civilian tasks of the gendarmes mobiles are similar to those of the police units known as Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS), for which they are often mistaken. Easy ways to distinguish them include:
The Mobile Gendarmerie includes GBGM (Groupement Blindé de la Gendarmerie Nationale), an Armoured grouping composed of seven squadrons equipped with VXB armoured personnel carriers, better known in the Gendarmerie as VBRG (Véhicule Blindé à Roues de la Gendarmerie, "Gendarmerie armoured wheeled vehicle"). It is based at Versailles-Satory. The unit also specializes in CBRN defense.
GIGN (Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale) is an elite law enforcement and special operations unit numbering about 400 personnel. Its missions include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, surveillance of national threats, protection of government officials and targeting of organized crime.
GIGN was established in 1974 following the Munich massacre. Created initially as a relatively small police tactical unit specialized in sensitive hostage situations, it has since grown into a larger and more diversified force of nearly 400 members.
Many of its missions are classified, and members are not allowed to be publicly photographed. Since its formation, GIGN has been involved in over 1,800 missions and rescued more than 600 hostages, making it one of the most experienced counter-terrorism units in the world.The unit came into prominence following its successful assault on a hijacked Air France flight at Marseille Marignane airport in December 1994.
The Republican Guard is a ceremonial unit based in Paris. Their missions include:
The non-metropolitan branches include units serving in the French overseas départements and territories (such as the Gendarmerie of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), staff at the disposal of independent States for technical co-operation, Germany, security guards in French embassies and consulates abroad.
Placed under the dual supervision of the Gendarmerie and the Navy, its missions include:
The Air Transport Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie des Transports Aériens) is placed under the dual supervision of the Gendarmerie and the direction of civilian aviation of the transportation ministry, its missions include:
The Air Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie de l'Air) is placed under the dual supervision of the Gendarmerie and the Air Force, it fulfills police and security missions in the air bases, and goes on the site of an accident involving military aircraft.
The Ordnance Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie de l'Armement) fulfills police and security missions in the establishments of the Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (France's defence procurement agency).
As the name implies, this branch is in charge of all security missions pertaining to France's nuclear forces.
The Provost Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie prévôtale), created in 2013, is the military police of the French Army deployed outside metropolitan France.
Gendarmerie units have served in:
The uniform of the Gendarmerie has undergone many changes since the establishment of the corps. Throughout most of the 19th century a wide bicorne was worn with a dark blue coat or tunic. Trousers were light blue. White aiguillettes were a distinguishing feature. In 1905 the bicorne was replaced by a dark blue kepi with white braiding, which had increasingly been worn as a service headdress. A silver crested helmet with plume, modelled on that of the French cuirassiers, was adopted as a parade headdress until 1914. Following World War I a relatively simple uniform was adopted for the Gendarmerie, although traditional features such as the multiple-cord aiguillette and the dark blue/light blue colour combination were retained.
Since 2006 a more casual "relaxed uniform" has been authorised for ordinary duties (see photograph below). The kepi however continues in use for dress occasions. Special items of clothing and equipment are issued for the various functions required of the Gendarmerie. The cavalry and infantry of the Republican Guard retain historic ceremonial uniforms dating from the 19th century.
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D)||Student officer|
|Rank title||Général d'armée||Général de corps d'armée||Général de division||Général de brigade||Colonel||Lieutenant-Colonel||Chef d'Escadron||Capitaine||Lieutenant||Sous-Lieutenant||Aspirant||Élève-officier|
|Departmental Gendarmerie||No equivalent||No equivalent|
|Air Transport Gendarmerie|
|Air Gendarmerie||No equivalent||No equivalent|
|Technical and Administrative Service||No equivalent|
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D)||Student officer|
|Rank title||Major||Adjudant-chef||Adjudant||Maréchal des Logis-Chef||Gendarme||Gendarme sous contrat||Élève Sous-officer||Gendarme Adjoint Maréchal-des-logis||Gendarme Adjoint Brigadier Chef||Gendarme Adjoint Brigadier||Gendarme Adjoint première classe||Gendarme Adjoint|
|Departmental Gendarmerie||No equivalent|
|Air Transport Gendarmerie|
|Air Gendarmerie||No equivalent|
|Technical and Administrative Service||No equivalent|
The National Gendarmerie consisted of approx. 103,481 personnel units in 2006. Career gendarmes are either commissioned or non-commissioned officers. The lower ranks consist of auxiliary gendarmes on limited-time/term contracts. The 103,481 military personnel of the National Gendarmerie is divided into:
This personnel mans the following units:
The Gendarmerie nationale's Prospective Centre (CPGN), which was created in 1998 by an ordinance of the Minister for Defence, is one of the gendarmerie's answers to officials' willingness to modernise the State. Under the direct authority of the general director of the gendarmerie, it is located in Penthièvre barracks on avenue Delcassé in Paris and managed by Mr Frédéric LENICA, (assisted by a general secretary, Colonel LAPPRAND) "maître des requêtes" in the Conseil d'Etat.
The gendarmerie uses many different French cars, like Renault Megane and Peugeot Partner.
The Gendarmerie has used helicopters since 1954. They are part of the Gendarmerie air forces (French: Forces aériennes de la Gendarmerie or FAG—not to be confused with the Air Gendarmerie or the Air Transport Gendarmerie). FAG units are attached to each of the seven domestic "zonal" regions and six overseas COMGEND (Gendarmerie commands). They also operate for the benefit of the National Police which owns no helicopters (the Police also has access to Civil Security helicopters).
Forces aériennes de la Gendarmerie (FAG) operate a fleet of 55 machines belonging to three types and specialized in two basic missions: surveillance/intervention and rescue/intervention.
The Gendarmerie use as service pistol the Sig-Sauer SP 2022 like almost all French law enforcement agencies.
The Gendarmerie also use a lots of weapons. The followings are the mosts used in common duty (Not inclued weapons used by tactical groups) :
This list is completed by less-lethals weapons like the LBD-40 : a 40mm plastic balls luncher, the Taser x26, Pepper Spray...
The French Armed Forces encompass the Army, the Navy, the Air and Space Force, the National Guard and the Gendarmerie of the French Republic. The President of France heads the armed forces as chef des armées.
The Niger Armed Forces (FAN) includes military armed force service branches, paramilitary services branches and the National Police. The Niger Army, Niger Air Force and the National Gendarmerie of Niger are under the Ministry of Defense whereas the National Guard of Niger and the National Police fall under the command of the Ministry of Interior. With the exception of the National Police, all military and paramilitary forces are trained in military fashion. The President of Niger is the supreme commander of the entire armed forces.
Military police (MP) are law enforcement agencies connected with, or part of, the military of a state.
A gendarmerie is a military force with law enforcement duties among the civilian population. The term gendarme is derived from the medieval French expression gens d'armes, which translates to "men-at-arms". In France and some Francophone nations, the gendarmerie is a branch of the armed forces responsible for internal security in parts of the territory with additional duties as military police for the armed forces. It was introduced to several other Western European countries during the Napoleonic conquests. In the mid-twentieth century, a number of former French mandates or colonial possessions such as Lebanon, Syria, the Ivory Coast, and the Republic of the Congo adopted a gendarmerie after independence. A similar concept was introduced in Eastern Europe by establishing Internal Troops, that exist in many countries of the former Soviet Union and their former allied countries.
GIGN is the elite police tactical unit of the French National Gendarmerie. Its missions include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, surveillance of national threats, protection of government officials, and targeting organized crime.
The Parachute Intervention Squadron of the National Gendarmerie (EPIGN) was the parachute-trained intervention squadron of the French Gendarmerie. The unit was formed in 1984 with personnel from EPGM, a one-of-a-kind parachute squadron that had been created within the mobile gendarmerie in 1971 and was disestablished at that date. EPIGN, which was based in Versailles-Satory with its sister unit GIGN. Besides its primary mission of providing heavy support and reinforcement to GIGN, EPIGN soon developed its own set of missions in the fields of protection and observation. It was finally absorbed, together with the "old" GIGN, into the newly reorganized GIGN in September 2007.
Law enforcement in France has a long history dating back to AD 570 when night watch systems were commonplace. Policing is centralized at the national level. Recently, legislation has allowed local governments to hire their own police officers which are called the "police municipale".
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is one of two national police forces in the Netherlands, alongside the National Police, and is one of the four branches of the Netherlands Armed Forces. It is a gendarmerie force performing military and civilian police duties.
The National Republican Guard or GNR is the national gendarmerie force of Portugal.
The Maritime Gendarmerie is a component of the French National Gendarmerie under operational control of the chief of staff of the French Navy. It employs 1,100 personnel and operates around thirty patrol boats and high-speed motorboats distributed on the littoral waterways of France. Like their land-based colleagues the Gendarmes Maritime are military personnel carry out policing operations in addition to their primary role as a coast guard service. They also carry out provost duties within the French Navy.
The Jandarmeria Română is the national Gendarmerie force of Romania, tasked with high-risk and specialized law enforcement duties. It is one of the two main police forces in Romania, both having jurisdiction over the civilian population.
Provosts are military police whose duties are policing solely within the armed forces of a country, as opposed to gendarmerie duties in the civilian population. However, many countries use their gendarmerie for provost duties.
The Mobile Gendarmerie (GM) is a subdivision of the French National Gendarmerie whose main mission is to maintain public order and general security. Contrary to the Departmental Gendarmerie, whose jurisdiction is limited to specific parts of the territory, the Mobile Gendarmerie can operate anywhere in France and even abroad as the Gendarmerie is a component of the French Armed Forces. Although the term "mobile" has been used at different times in the 19th century, the modern Mobile Gendarmerie was created in 1921.
The Air Transport Gendarmerie (GTA) is a branch of the French Gendarmerie placed under the dual supervision of the Gendarmerie and the Directorate General for Civil Aviation of the Transportation Ministry.
National Police Intervention Groups (GIPN) were tactical units of the French National Police based in large cities in metropolitan France and in French overseas territories.
National Police Corps, colloquially in English as Dutch National Police or National Police Force, is divided in ten regional units and a central unit, and the Royal Marechaussee, a gendarmerie. Law enforcement in the Netherlands operates primarily through governmental police agencies. The law-enforcement purposes of these agencies are the investigation of suspected criminal activity, referral of the results of investigations to the courts, and the temporary detention of suspected criminals pending judicial action. Law enforcement agencies, to varying degrees at different levels of government and in different agencies, are also commonly charged with the responsibilities of deterring criminal activity and preventing the successful commission of crimes in progress. The police commissioner in the Netherlands is Henk van Essen since May 1, 2020.
The Gendarmerie Nationale, is the national rural police force of Algeria. As part of the Algerian Armed Forces is commanded by a major general who reports directly to the Minister of National Defense. In 2007 the gendarmerie consists of 60,000. Although generally regarded as a versatile and competent paramilitary force, the gendarmerie has been severely tested in dealing with civil disorder since 1988. It frequently has lacked sufficient manpower at the scene of disorder and its units have been inadequately trained and equipped for riot control. The gendarmerie, however, has demonstrated the ability to root out terrorist groups operating from mountain hideouts.
The National Gendarmerie of Gabon is the national police force of Gabon responsible for law enforcement in Gabon. It is under the direct command of the President of Gabon. The Gendarmerie is also in charge of the Gabonese Republican Guard.
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