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History of the Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia

During the first few years of independence banditry and dissident guerrilla activity became a serious problem, but a vigorous campaign by combined army and police forces succeeded in restoring order to the country. Respect for constituted authority was traditional in Cambodian society, and the influence of family and kinship group created an attitude and outlook responsive to an ordered and disciplined code of behavior.

After the arrival of the French in the nineteenth century, the colonial regime introduced a modern judicial and police framework patterned after France. The use of foreigners, especially Vietnamese, as policemen did much to alienate the police from the people, and the emphasis on enforcing compliance with alien French laws and regulations fomented an attitude of prejudice and distrust. Since independence the public's image of the police improved. By the early 1960's there were no foreigners on the force, better training refined and improved police performance and methods, and the continuing emphasis was to establish the police as the friends and protectors of the community. Other than a thin veneer of police supervision, the citizen was confronted with few mechanical controls or repressions.

Sangkum Reast Niyum Regime (1st Kingdom of Cambodia)

What little police protection or attention was given to the villages was provided by the Surface. Defense Force. Formed originally in 1952 as the Territorial Defense Force, it was organized as a military force to support the army in its suppression of insurgency. Upon the pacification of the country in 1955, the force was assigned to police duties.

In 1954, after operations were completed in phases, the capacity of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces was strengthened, and this was noticeable via the establishment of military academy, military training fields, supporting military units, air base comprising of 3 air forces, and river and sea fighter training base with 1 marine commando force, and Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia. The Royal Gendarmerie was formed on July 20, 1954 and was officially launched through the Royal Decree No. 446 NS and 447 NS dated September 27, 1957 under the name of Royal Gendarmerie of Khmer (GRK). It was obliged to perform national defense missions and provide assistance to military, administrative and court bodies under the terms and conditions specified in applicable laws.

The Surface Defense Force consisted of the Provincial Guard and the Chivapol. The Provincial Guard was the professional element of the force, and its members were the only personnel on full-time active duty. Numbering over 10,000 men, its mission was the maintenance of law and order in the provinces and the remote border areas. In many towns that did not haye the resources to maintain their own municipal force, guardsmen acted as police, and the 2,500 [as of 1967] who were assigned to this type of duty were detailed to the Town Police. The great majority of guardsmen, however, exercised their police duties in their home villges, backed by the nominal authority of the Royal Khmer Police, where they were usually the sole representatives of government law enforcement. The Chivapol was a local, part-time vollunteer militia designed to assist other police elements in case of need.

Khmer Republic Regime (Lon Nol)

After March 18, 1970, the Royal Gendarmerie of Khmer was renamed the National Gendarmerie (GN) under Decree No. 574/71 CE, dated October 5, 1971. It was mainly obliged to make applicable laws and orders enforced in the framework of military police, administrative police and judicial police.

Democratic Kampuchea Regime (Khmer Rouge)

The country’s gendarmerie was brought into absence during the period of April 17, 1975 to January 7, 1979.

Cambodian People’s Democratic Republic - State of Kampuchea

From January 7, 1979 to October 23, 1991, the gendarmerie had yet to be established and only military police was formed.

Re-Establishment of Royal Gendarmerie, 2nd Kingdom of Cambodia (Royal Government of 1st Legislation of National Assembly in 1993)

Royal Gendarmerie of the Kingdom of Cambodia was formed under the deliberation of His Majest Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, who submitted his request to French government for its assistance to the Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia, and the French government favorably responded his request, regarding Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia as its sister.

The Secretariat of the Royal Gendarmerie was established via a Decree-Law dated July 14, 1993 on organizational structure of the Ministry of National Defense and General Chief of Staff (Establishment of the General Chief of Staff of Cambodian National Army), signed by Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, head of the state of Cambodia and supreme commander of the Cambodian National Army.

During the first stage of the organization of the Royal Gendarmerie, General Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces issued an order that recruitment of qualified military officers and soldiers was made nationwide for gendarmerie specialized skill and profession training courses with support and assistance from United Nation Transitional Authority of Cambodia (UNTAC), which comprised of representatives from a number of countries, such as France, Australia, Germany, Malaysia and Indonesia.

As a result, Royal Gendarmerie Training Course for Promotion I was officially launched on August 9, 1993 and concluded on August 28, 1993 for 124 trainees. Then Royal Gendarmerie Training Course for Promotion II was launched on September 13, 1993 to October 7, 1993, trained by foreign trainers and those selected among trainees in Promotion I training. After the two training courses were concluded, the General Chief of Staff of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces began to organize the Royal Gendarmerie Unit, officially declaring it on November 18, 1993, which comprises of 247 forces under the leadership of General Keo Samuon.

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Page last modified: 02-06-2012 17:25:25 ZULU