Gendarmerie Nationale

The Gendarmerie Nationale of France is a national paramilitary police force which polices communes with populations of fewer than 5,000. The Gendarmerie is actually part of the French army and is run by the Ministry of War, although it is also responsible to the Ministry of the Interior for public order policing and to the … Continue reading Gendarmerie Nationale


Policing in France: An Overview

France is policed by two distinct types of uniformed police: the Gendarmerie Nationale and the Police Municipale. Foreigners often refer to all French policemen as ‘gendarmes’, but this is inaccurate. Although the municipal policeman wears a similar uniform to the true gendarme, he is actually a very different beast and the two should not be confused. … Continue reading Policing in France: An Overview

Local Government in France

Administratively, France is divided into 89 départements (counties), each of which is usually divided into three or four arrondissements (districts). These are headed respectively by a préfet (prefect) and a sous-préfet (sub-prefect), who are civil servants appointed by the President of the Republic and are responsible to the Minister of the Interior. Their offices, and … Continue reading Local Government in France

Metropolitan Police: Criminal Investigation Department

Detectives are members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). All are former uniformed officers. After a few years on the beat (and an absolute minimum of twelve months), a uniformed constable may apply to transfer to CID. Most potential detectives have previously done plain-clothes work (to control begging, street betting, prostitution, etc). If he is … Continue reading Metropolitan Police: Criminal Investigation Department

Metropolitan Police: The Divisions

The division is the basic unit of policing in the Metropolitan Police. The 23 divisions are grouped into four districts, all administered from Scotland Yard, where the district chief constables (and deputy assistant commissioners from 1933) and their staffs have their offices. The following is a list of each division with its usual name (in … Continue reading Metropolitan Police: The Divisions