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Useful Notes / Les Cops Sportif

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"Vos papiers, s'il vous plaît." note 

"Nobody is not afraid of a policeman from France. That is why this hat is so effective."
Description of L'Inspecteur, Team Fortress 2

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): Under control of the Ministry of Defense, this military police force essentially covers the French countryside and small towns. They wear hats called 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 on the Eiffel Tower was wiped out without losing any hostages during the assault note ). They also have a strict concealment of identity policy. They're also rather legendary for using a .357 Magnum revolver, the Manurhin MR 73.
    • 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.
  • Directorate-General of Customs and Indirect Taxes (Direction générale des douanes et droits indirects or DGDDI)
  • National Police (Police Nationale, better known under their old name: Sûreté Nationale): Cover sizeable 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 , condés, or maréchausséenote .


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French films

Non-French films

  • 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.

    Live Action TV 

French shows

Non-French shows

  • 'Allo 'Allo!: "Good moaning". Sort of.
  • Recurs several times in the Paris half of various Highlander seasons, especially season 1.

    Video Games 
  • 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.

    Web Video 
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Le Cops Sportif