National Gendarmerie

National Gendarmerie

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National Gendarmerie

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See gendarmerie for similar forces in other countries.

In France, the National Gendarmerie () is a military force in charge of public safety, with police duties among the civilian population. It is also a military police / provost force. It has a strength of more than 105,975 persons (in 2007). The Gendarmerie works with the other national law enforcement agency, the police nationale.


One of the oldest institutions

The Gendarmerie is the direct descendant of the Marshalcy of the ancien regime, more commonly known by its French title, the Maréchaussée.

During the Middle Ages, there were two Grand Officer 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, and some historians trace it back to the early twelfth century.

Another organisation, the Constabulary (French: Connétablie), was under the command of the Constable of France. The constabulary was regularised as a military body in 1337.

Under King Francis I (French: François 1er, who reigned 1515–1547), the Maréchaussée was merged with the......
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