RAID (French Police unit)

This article is about the anti-terrorist unit of the French National Police. For other uses, see Raid (disambiguation).
Recherche, Assistance, Intervention, Dissuasion (French)
Active 1985–present
Country  France
Branch French National Police
Type Law enforcement
Role Domestic anti-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Size c. 320
Garrison/HQ Bièvres, Essonne
Nickname(s) RAID
Motto(s) Servir sans faillir (To serve without failing)
Mascot(s) Panther
Engagements Neuilly hostage crisis
Anti-Action Directe arrests
Anti-GIA operations
2005 Paris Riots
2012 Midi-Pyrénées shootings
2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting
November 2015 Paris attacks
Jean-Michel Fauvergue[1]
Ange Mancini, Christian Lambert, Amaury de Hauteclocque

Recherche, Assistance, Intervention, Dissuasion ("Search, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence"), commonly abbreviated RAID (/rd/; French: [ʁɛd]) is an elite law enforcement unit of the French National Police. RAID is headquartered in Bièvres, Essonne, approximately 20 km (12 miles) southwest of Paris.

Created in 1985, RAID is the National Police counterpart of the National Gendarmerie's GIGN. Both units share responsibility for the French territory.[2]

Since 2009, RAID and the Paris Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI), a separate National Police unit reporting directly into the Paris Police Prefecture (French: Préfecture de police de Paris),[3] have formed a task force called "National Police Intervention Force" (French: Force d'intervention de la Police nationale) or FIPN. When activated, the task force is headed by the RAID commander.

In early 2015, the seven regional units of the National Police, previously known as National Police Intervention Groups (GIPNs), were permanently integrated into RAID and redesignated "RAID branches" (French: antennes RAID).[4]


RAID equipment and armored vehicle

Among the main missions of RAID are:[5]

RAID reports to the Director general of the National Police (DGPN), himself a direct report of the Minister of the Interior.


Before RAIDs creation, the National Police didn't have a national unit comparable to the Gendarmerie's GIGN and relied instead on regional units : BRI in Paris and the GIPNs in the province.

Minister of the interior Pierre Joxe was the key decision maker who authorized the creation of the unit.[6] · [7]

RAID was founded by then-commissaries Robert Broussard and Ange Mancini in 1985. Broussard, one of the best known Police commissaries at the time, was one of the advisers who pushed the project. Mancini was chosen to be the unit's first commander.[6]

RAID's first mission - a hostage situation in a Nantes tribunal, took place soon afterwards in December 1985[8]

In 1987 RAID arrested the leaders of the terrorist group Action Directe in their Vitry-aux-Loges hideout.[8]

In May 1993, RAID solved a delicate hostage situation when a man named Erick Schmitt, calling himself "HB" (for "Human Bomb", in English), and carrying large quantities of explosives, took 21 tiny tots hostage in a Neuilly-sur-Seine nursery school.[9] The hostage taker was finally shot and the children were recovered safely, together with their teacher and a nurse.

In 1996, in Roubaix, the unit neutralized the Gang de Roubaix, a 14-member terrorist group tied to the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA), suspected of several bank robberies, murders and a missed attack against a Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Lille. The assault was very violent and resulted in the death of 4 terrorists. 2 RAID operatives were also injured, one by a grenade blast, the other hit by a bullet in a lung.[8] Christophe Caze, the head of the group, escaped the building in flame but was killed at a Belgium checkpoint during a gunfight with Customs agents. Several days later, thanks to an electronic device found on Caze's body, Fateh Kamel, head of a terrorist cell in Montreal, was arrested in Jordan and tried in France.

RAID operators saw action during the 2005 and 2006 riots in France, as well as in a hostage situation in Versailles, where an armed man was shot dead by RAID operators after coming under attack.

On 21 and 22 March 2012, RAID was tasked to arrest Mohammed Merah, the main suspect for shooting sprees in Toulouse and Montauban. RAID surrounded the flat where Merah was entrenched. After 30 hours of siege, RAID stormed the flat to apprehend Merah who fought back. After a 4-minute shoot out, Merah was shot down by a RAID sniper while exiting the building.[10]

On 9 January 2015 RAID, together with BRI, a unit of the Paris metropolitan Police, ended the hostage situation at the kosher supermarket Hypercacher on the second day of the January 2015 Paris terrorist attacks.[11]

On 14 November 2015 RAID, again with the Paris BRI, took part in operations at the Bataclan theatre, where 90 people were killed during a series of bombings, shootings and hostage taking in Paris on 13 – 14 November. On 18 November RAID undertook a follow-up operation in Saint-Denis seeking Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 'mastermind' of the attacks, who was killed.[12]

RAID also provides close protection for foreign dignitaries traveling in France. During special events, RAID is also in charge of protecting French individuals abroad (For example, the French Delegation during the Olympic Games is under RAID protection during the whole event).

Three RAID officers have been killed in action: two in Ris-Orangis (near Paris) in 1989 and one in Corsica in 1996.[13]


RAID has a total strength of around 320 men and women, approx. 180 of which are in Bièvres, the rest in the regional branches located in Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Rennes and Strasbourg.

The Bièvres (Paris) unit is divided into three main sections with about 60 members each:

First Section: The first section deals with the usual tasks of special forces: intervention, monitoring, protection.

Second Section: The second section is the Research and Development unit of the RAID. It studies techniques and collects information. This section is divided into three groups:

  • Intelligence Group
  • Technical Group
  • Weaponry Group

Third section: The Third section deals with the psychological aspects of the interventions. It is in charge of negotiations and crisis management. It also provides psychological support for the policemen in the unit and in the whole French Police. It is composed of forensic experts, a psychologist and physicians.

The Negotiation group is on permanent alert. It deals with suicides, violent crises, mental disorders, hostage crises and other major troubles, independently from the rest of the RAID. It assesses the dangers of the situation, suggests possible solutions, and helps with the negotiations and the resolution of the crises. If the whole RAID has to intervene, the Negotiations section is used as a reconnaissance unit, and prepares the intervention of the other sections. To join the unit, an officer needs five years duty within the Police Nationale and after passing a thorough test he will serve in the RAID for five years. With a commendation he can expand it further five years. All members must leave the tactical unit after ten years. Candidates must be under forty to apply. Female officers are admitted in almost all positions.

Helicopter support is provided by Sécurité Civile and the National Gendarmerie. Tactical deployment of large groups is handled by GIH (French: Groupe interarmées d'hélicoptères) a joint army/air force special operations flight equipped with SA330 PUMA helicopters based in nearby Villacoublay air base. GIH was established in 2006, initially to support GIGN. Its role has been expanded to also support RAID in 2008.

Coordination between GIGN and RAID is handled by a joint organization called Ucofi (French: Unité de coordination des forces d’intervention). A "leader/follower" protocol has been established for use when both units need to be engaged jointly,[14] leadership belonging to the unit operating in its primary aera of responsibility.[15]

RAID is also a member of the European ATLAS Network, an informal association consisting of the special police units of the 28 states of the European Union.

RAID Commanders


Servir sans faillir (To serve without failing)



See also


  1. Amaury de Hauteclocque, le patron du RAID, quitte son poste, Le Monde, 12 April 2013
  2. Each of the two French national police forces, the National Police and the National Gendarmerie has primary responsibility for a part of the territory : large cities and urban areas for the National Police, smaller cities and rural areas for the National Gendarmerie).
  3. The Paris Préfecture de Police ( commonly abbreviated PP) is an organization tailor-made to handle the specific requirements of Paris (a large city and the country's capital). It reports directly to the Ministry of the Interior and controls several non-police departments such as the Paris Fire brigade.
  4. The Police units based in the French overseas departments and territories have kept the old GIPN name and report to FIPN only when it is activated.
  5. From the RAID presentation page on the French Ministry of the Interior web page.
  6. 1 2 Mémoires du commissaire Broussard pp 763-766. See also Jean-Louis Courtois : Le RAID L'unité d'élite de la Police Française pp 21-27.
  7. Later, as Defense minister, he was instrumental in creating the French Special operations command (French: Commandement des opérations spéciales or COS) after the Gulf war.
  8. 1 2 3 Le RAID - Trente Ans d'Intervention.
  9. Archived December 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. "WRAPUP 7-Gunman dies in hail of bullets as French siege ends". Reuters. 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  11. Christopher Zara. "Charlie Hebdo Attack: Anti-Terror Raid In Reims, France". Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  12. Aurelien Breeden, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura (19 November 2015). "Chief Suspect in Paris Attacks Died in Raid, France Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  13. Histoire(s) du RAID - Amaury de Hauteclocque
  14. As was the case following the January 2015 "Charlie Hebdo" assassinations.
  15. « Colonel Bonneau interview, L’Essor de la Gendarmerie nationale n°478 – February 2015 issue.
  16. Collectif. "Le RAID: Unité d'élite de la police nationale" (in French). Crépin-Leblond (September 15, 2005). ISBN 978-2-7030-0264-2.
  17. "Fixed R.E.D V2 Industrial Knives by Bastinelli Knives - Tactical Art". Retrieved 2016-11-02.


The following books and articles are in French



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