Departmental Gendarmerie

Renault Trafic Gendarmerie van
Gendarmes without kepis in an older uniform
Gendarmes in a relaxed uniform, with soft hats
Gendarmerie guard the Palace of Justice in Paris

The Departmental Gendarmerie (French: Gendarmerie Départementale) is the territorial police branch of the French Gendarmerie. The departmental gendarmerie has regular contact with the population and conducts local policing functions throughout the French territory.

The Departmental Gendarmerie is sometimes called "La Blanche" after the colour of the silver/white unit and rank insignia they wear in contrast to the golden insignia of the Mobile Gendarmerie. In France white or silver insignia traditionally indicates a mounted arm and the white insignia evolved from the gendarmerie's origins as a predominantly mounted force.

Its territorial divisions are based on the administrative divisions of France, particularly the departments from which the Departmental Gendarmerie derives its name.

Higher organization

It is divided into regions (headed by a general, one for each defense zone). These are divided into "Legions" (headed by a colonel), one for each of the 12 metropolitan administrative Regions of France.[1] The Legions are divided into groupements (one for each of the 100 départements, thus the name). The groupements are divided into compagnies (one for each of the 342 arrondissements).


The basic organization is the gendarmerie squad sized "brigade", which includes from 6 to 40 people, and are generally located at the level of the canton. The brigades can be organized in groups of brigades with a unit of chief town and brigades of proximity or in autonomous brigades.

Each brigade is in charge of the monitoring one or several communes day and night as well as reception with the public. The gendarmes there receive the complaints, carry out the investigations administrative and legal and in a general way answer emergency calls.

Brigades of a district form a company. The companies of a department form a grouping and the groupings of an administrative area form an area since the territorial reorganization of July 1, 2005. Previously the areas took the name of “legions”. One counts 22 areas of departmental gendarmerie today.

Thus, each hierarchical level of the departmental gendarmerie corresponds to a level of the administration of the territory. Each hierarchical level is ordered by an officer, person in charge for the units of the departmental gendarmerie placed under its spring. It is the corresponding one in load of the public safety of the administrative authority.

There are approximately 3.600 brigades.

Special Units

In addition to the brigades, the departmental gendarmerie contain units specialized in certain missions:

This organization is in the course of modification with the recasting of the PRGD in PRSIG (group of reserve of monitoring and intervention of the gendarmerie) in order to better adapt to the needs of and the reinforcement of the commune units. The PRSIG are more and more frequently associated a company and either limited to 1 by grouping.


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