National gendarmerie

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Members of the National Gendarmerie in 2007
Special unit GIGN
Office in Saint-Tropez

The national gendarmerie ( ʒɑ̃daʁmə'ʁi nasjɔ'nal , German national gendarmerie ) is a police force in France . It had been part of the French armed forces since its inception and, unlike the other French police forces, was subordinate to the Ministry of Defense . Since January 1, 2009 it has also been subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior . The gendarmerie takes on police duties in rural areas , while the police national is responsible for the cities. Both guard bodies are independent of each other.

A similar organization of the security services can be found in Spain ( Guardia Civil ), Italy ( Carabinieri ) and in the Netherlands ( Koninklijke Marechaussee ).

History and tasks

As the successor to the Maréchaussée des Ancien Régime , the National Gendarmerie, created by law of February 16, 1791 during the French Revolution, today consists of 104,275 civil servants, 102,322 of whom are soldiers (as of March 10, 2005). Its Director General is a civil servant who reports to the Ministry of Defense . In local, non-military operations, it is subordinate to the prefect , but if it performs judicial tasks, it follows the orders of the public prosecutor or a responsible investigating judge. The gendarmerie is currently divided into around 3,600 brigades, which corresponds to almost one brigade per canton .

The best-known unit is the Groupe d'intervention de la gendarmerie nationale , or GIGN for short, a special unit of the French gendarmerie with a focus on fighting terrorism. It is comparable to the German GSG 9 . Other special forces are subordinate to the National Police . The National Gendarmerie is also subordinate to other special forces, such as seventeen high mountain ranges in the French Alps and the Massif Central in France. You take on missions for rescue and recovery z. B. of in mountain emergencies geratenen hikers or mountain climbers and police duties in cases of accidents and crimes in this particular environment. Your officers are trained as mountain guides and have avalanche search dogs. As a guard of honor and especially during the national holidays, the mounted Garde républicaine serves the French President at state receptions.

Vehicles of the National Gendarmerie in front of the Palais de Justice in Paris in 2017

Reservists also serve in the national gendarmerie. In 2019, a thirty-day general compulsory service with the Service national universel (SNU) , the "General National Service", was decided, which can in part also be performed with the gendarmerie.


General Richard Lizurey has been the director since 2016 . The internal organization of the gendarmerie is as follows:

General Directorate ( La direction générale de la Gendarmerie nationale ), the main command of the gendarmerie. The General Inspection ( L'inspection générale de la Gendarmerie nationale ), responsible for discipline and technical readiness, is an independent body of the General Management.

  • Departementale Gendarmerie ( La gendarmerie départementale ), the national police authority for municipalities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. The structure follows the 13 regions of metropolitan France ( metropolis ).
  • Mobile Gendarmerie ( La gendarmerie mobile ), the riot gendarmerie , military police of the French Army within the metropolis and reaction service in the event of a crisis or war. The structure follows the 7 military regions of metropolitan France.
  • Republican Guard ( La Garde républicaine ), a branch of arms in brigade strength for the protocol honorary service and the guarding of higher state authorities such as the residence of the president , the residence of the prime minister and the chambers of the French parliament .
  • Overseas gendarmerie ( La gendarmerie d'outre-mer ), in contrast to metropolitan France, in the French overseas territories the units of the various types of gendarmerie are combined in territorial commands.
  • Military Police Gendarmerie ( La gendarmerie prévôtale ), new structure responsible for military police matters in connection with international missions.
  • Specialized genres ( Les formations spécialisées )
    • Air traffic gendarmerie ( La Gendarmerie des transports aériens (GTA) ), responsible for the security of civil airports and objects of air traffic control.
    • Air Force Gendarmerie ( La gendarmerie de l'Air ), military police authority for the French Air Force . Property protection of facilities of the French Air Force is guaranteed directly by the armed forces through their security squadrons and detachments.
    • Marine gendarmerie ( La gendarmerie maritime ), military police authority for the French Navy and also coast guard . Property protection of facilities of the French Navy is guaranteed directly by the armed forces through their naval fusiliers.
    • Armaments gendarmerie ( La gendarmerie de l'Armement ), security and counterintelligence service for the French defense technology authority ( Direction générale de l'Armement ), its facilities and also for French companies in the armaments industry .
    • Security gendarmerie for nuclear weapons ( La Gendarmerie de la sécurité des armements nucléaires (GSAN) ), reporting directly to the Minister of Defense, responsible for security during storage and transport.
  • Action group of the National Gendarmerie ( Le Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale ), known under the abbreviation GIGN, the French equivalent of GSG 9 of the German Federal Police .
  • Administrative and supply institutions ( Les organismes d'administration et de soutien )
  • Training institutions ( Les organismes de formation du personnel )

See also


  • Jean-Noël Luc , Frédéric Médard (Eds.): Histoire et dictionnaire de la gendarmerie. De la Maréchaussée à nos jours . Jacob Duvernet, Paris 2013, ISBN 978-2-84724-496-0 .
  • Romain Pécout: A War Without an End: French Gendarmes and the Post-conflict Process (1918-1921) . In: Jonas Campion, Laurent López, Guillaume Payen (Eds.): European Police Forces and Law Enforcement in the First World War . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham 2019, ISBN 978-3-03026101-6 , pp. 293-305 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-030-26102-3_20 .

Web links

Commons : Gendarmerie nationale  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  4. With a purely arithmetical strength of an average of 29 people, this type of brigade does not correspond to what a military brigade represents.
  6. level-central