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Benin Gendarmerie Nationale

A regular branch of the Armed Forces, the Gendarmerie is primarily concerned with maintaing order and internal security in rural areas. Under the Ministry of Defense, it is administratively part of the armed forcse, though it has a separate command structure. It acts as a national policy, primarily focused on civic order.

With some 2,500 troops, it is tasked with paramilitary internal security functions. The four mobile battalions are equipped with light weapons. The battalions consist of about 20 company-size gendarmerie detachments stationed throughout the country.

The gendarmerie was the first of the security forces to be established. The Police Nationale were the gardes-cercle established in jurisdictions to support the gendarmerie, whose numbers were initially rather limited.

The Beninese National Gendarmerie is the heir to the French National Gendarmerie established in Dahomey, the name given to this French colony between 1894 and 1958. The latter is organized into sections by Decree No. 49-1365 of 23 August 1949, then in groups Of gendarmerie with the interministerial decision of November 27, 1957.

The French police system is comprised of the Police Nationale, the Gendarmerie, and municipal police and is very different from the English system, particularly with respect to centralization and unification. From a historical perspective, the French police system was characterized in terms of a move toward centralization. Police forces were nationalized in 1851, and the Police Nationale was created in 1941.

France actually has three police systems: Police Nationale under the Interior Ministry, the Gendarmerie under the Defense Ministry, and municipal police. In France, the Gendarmerie maintain security, peace, law and order, and protection of the people within France. During peace time, GN forces spend about 50% of its time carrying out missions that guarantee homeland security (i.e. law and order, public safety). The remainder of the time, they perform judicial police work and patrol the vast majority of road networks in rural areas where the risk of severe road accidents is high.

The history of the French National Gendarmerie dates back to the Middle Ages. At the time, the constable and the marshal were entrusted with the discipline of the men of war enlisted during a conflict. Hence the term "marechaussee". As for the term "gendarmerie", it appears for the first time under Louis XI: a troop called Gendarmerie de France acts as royal cavalry.

After a period of chronic political instability in the 1960s, Dahomey became the People's Republic of Benin on 30 November 1975, following the coup d'état of Mathieu Kérékou. The new political orientation of the country, inspired by Marxism-Leninism, leads to an overthrow of the institutions. The creation in 1977 of the popular armed forces led to the reform of the gendarmerie, which became the command of the companies of the public security forces. In February 1990, the Gendarmerie Nationale regained its name and its traditional missions.

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Page last modified: 20-04-2017 18:43:14 ZULU