Law enforcement forces in France.
There are basically three sorts of French police officers on the national level, as well as municipal forces:
- National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale): A part of the Gauls With Grenades, this military police force essentially covers the French countryside and small towns. They wear kepis. The riot control role is shared by the Gendarmerie Mobile units, which, as their name implies, are part of the Gendarmerie. While in the United Kingdom, the United States and most other ex-British colonies, the idea of using military police to enforce civilian law would seem odd at best and tyrannical at worst outside of extreme emergencies, in France the concept of the Gendarmerie has a long history and nobody really thinks twice about it. France is however one of the few nations to still have a police force named "Gendarmerie" that actually is a gendarmerie; in various nations that picked up the concept from France when it was a colonial power, the gendarmerie was eventually merged into the civilian police but kept its name as a matter of tradition.
- The GIGN (Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, National Gendarmerie Intervention Group) is considered the most elite group, and is only dispatched in extreme cases (assault with hostages, terrorism... Their most well-known operation is the Air France Flight 8969 hostage situation, where a group planning a 9/11-like terrorist attack was wiped out without losing any hostages during the assault). They also have a strict concealment of identity policy.
- Directorate-General of Customs and Indirect Taxes (Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects or DGDDI)
- The Mobile Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Mobile), rather than being assigned to a particular region of France, given nationwide jurisdiction and also sometimes deployed overseas. During the Cold War, the Mobile Gendarmerie was even equipped with anti-tank weaponry, initially the AMX-13 light tank and later the VBC-90 wheeled tank destroyer. Post-Cold War budget cuts eventually resulted in the VBC-90 being retired in 2010 and cannibalized for parts to keep the older, unarmed VBRG armored cars (more akin to what a typical SWAT team would operate) in service.
- National Police (Police Nationale, better known under their old name: Sûreté Nationale): Cover towns and cities.
- Includes the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS), essentially France's riot police. Both the CRS and Gendarmerie Mobile have cool Robocop-dubbed suits to better withstand the various projectiles thrown at them by rioters. And also to impress those who'd think about rioting.
- A lot of people considers the Gendarmes Mobiles to be the upgraded, more violent version of the CRS.
- While the aforementioned GIGN is part of the Army, the police have their own SWAT Teams: the RAID (Recherche, Assistance, Intervention, Dissuasion, Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence) and the BRI (Brigade Recherche Intervention, Research Intervention Brigade) has teams in every large city. The RAID specializes in counter-terrorism while the BRI specializes in high-profile crimes such as robberies and kidnappings.
- Also includes the BAC (Brigade Anti-Criminalité, Anti-Crime Brigade), in charge of urban surveillance and specialized in actions inside violent crime areas. They usually operate in casual clothes, and watch the streets from unmarked police cars, to surprise the criminals.
- The Police Municipale or "municipal force" has the duty to enforce their employing city's by-laws, though some municipalities have taken to arming them and making them do missions nearer from those of the National Police.
- The Direction centrale du Renseignement intérieur (DCRI, Central Directorate of Homeland Intelligence) was formed in 2008 from the merger of two intelligence components of the National Police and now reports directly to the Interior Minister.
French Policemen, like their equivalents all over the world, have many nicknames : flicsnote , keufs note , pouletsnote , maison poulaganote or maréchausséenote .
- L'Assaut ("The Assault") - A dramatization of the hijacking of Air France 8969, with the climax centered on the storming of the plane by the GIGN.
- Louis de Funès' most iconic role, Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez.
- The Bourne Identity
- The Emperor of Paris
- Jean-Paul Belmondo played quite a few maverick cops in films such as Peur sur la ville, Cop or Hood, Le Marginal and Le Solitaire.
- La Haine ("Hatred"), another French movie.
- The Pink Panther and other films featuring Inspector Clouseau.
- District 13.
- Un Flic - Flic being French for, roughly, "Cop" - is a character study of a dour, serious police officer and a flamboyant, brilliant criminal (played by Richard Crenna, famous for the Rambo movies).
- Bob Le Flambeur, a Caper movie about robbing a Casino, has an Inspector Javert type pursuing the title character. In the end, Bob gets away clean because he never actually committed the heist, instead hitting a lucky streak at the gaming tables that made him more than he would have if he'd played his part. His partners, unfortunately, don't know this and get gunned down pointlessly.
- Just about any movie directed by Olivier Marchal, himself a former cop. 36 quai des Orfèvres remains his most critically acclaimed and successful movie.
- The Taxi series is about a taxi driver helping inept cops to stop various criminal schemes (the Deuteragonist is one of said cops).
- My New Partner / The Cop and its sequel are comedies about a duo of sympathetic Parisian corrupt cops (its original title, Les Ripoux, is French slang which basic means "The Dirty Cops").
- L.627 depicts the activities of a Parisian drug squad.
- One of the two protagonists of The Mark Of The Angels - Miserere is a retired BRI cop named Lionel Kasdan thrown into a twisted investigation after the gruesome murder of one of his acquaintances. In the original novel, his partner is a member of the BPM (the unit specialized in investigation and repression of crimes against minors) named Cédric Volokine, but he has been changed into an Interpol agent named Frank Salek in the movie.
- Appear in many of the crime novels of Paul Féval (who wrote from 1842 to 1875) including The Vampire Countess, John Devil and The Black Coats series. He had a very cynical attitude so they're usually useless.
- Maigret features the eponymous Police Judiciaire inspector's efforts to solve murders in Paris.
- The Crimson Rivers (Les rivières pourpres in the original French) is a novel and film featuring a team-up between a gendarme and detective from the National Police.
- Members of the Maritime Gendarmerie feature prominently in the Young Bond short story "A Hard Man to Kill".
- Commissaire Adamsberg, one of Fred Vargas' main characters, is a member of the Brigade Criminelle de Paris ; the Gendarmerie also plays an important role in some novels, giving an occasion to show the rivalry between the two forces.
- The full power of the French police/security apparatus is called into action to avert The Day of the Jackal.
- Les Boeuf-carottes ("Beef-carrots"), a series starring Jean Rochefort about the IGPN (General Inspection of the National Police).
- Engrenages (Spiral in the UK, the French title meaning "cogs"), a French series which has aired in the United Kingdom.
- P.J.: Police Judiciaire. This show was praised by actual police officers for its accuracy/believability.
- The final level of Hitman: Contracts requires Agent 47 to escape a GIGN assault on his hotel room.
- Modern Warfare 3 has the GIGN as allies in the campaign and as a playable faction in the multiplayer.
- One level in Battlefield 3 has you trading fire with French police.
- A recurrent playable faction in nearly every game of the Counter-Strike franchise is the GIGN, from 1.6 to Global Offensive.
- Team Fortress 2: The Spy has a Nice Hat whose description currently serves as the page quote.
- They can appear to search the train and arrest Cath in The Last Express.
- Driv3r features the National Police in Nice. The Gendarmerie also appear in one mission.
- Rainbow Six Siege has 4 playable GIGN characters.
- Next to golfers and their hilariously over the top reactions to losing a ball, the French cops are a favorite target of Rémi Gaillard. Among others he's kicked footballs into their vans, stolen their hats or flashlights numerous times, given them parking tickets, dressed up as a butterfly to catch them in nets, dumped a huge bucket of bird "poop" on their vehicles while dressed as an owl, vandalized speed cameras, impersonated speed cameras, and driven past them in traffic in a go-kart disguised as Mario and flipped them off. At least the police force of Montpellier can never say their jobs are boring.