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The British Gendarmerie-Policia-Carabinieri-Police

In Britain we have had just one spanner in the Policing toolbox, but we are changing and are introducing a new tool in the shape of PCSOs. We have our various specialist departments, CID, Road Traffic etc etc etc. The PCSO roll out continues. We have our National Serious crime network but by and large we have traditionally kept it all under one roof, the good old fashioned British bobby was the Swiss Army knife of the Policing multi-tool world and excelled at a wide range of things as age and experience increased. This is deemed to be old fashioned, outdated and far too expensive to justify continued financing in this modern day & age. So expect our provision to change to the PCSOs providing the municipal service offering similar to Spain but without the guns and the remainder of those who are deemed to be financially unsustainable, according to Sir Ronnie Flanagan, to become the National squads based locally in a revamped Force reorganisation of serious crime investigation, firearms officers, drugs enforcement and a whole list of specialist countrywide based squads that deal with their own remits and specialisations. Hopefully the dog handlers will still be included. Our Policing traditions are not changing, they are being removed, slowly but surely, by people who claim to know better but who really should know better. We are following the styles preferred by others because it-is a far cheaper alternative. I feel sure that the bean counters have got the business plan and all relevant projections and forecasts for this safely stored away from prying eyes somewhere. This should give the chance to get back some of that Northern Rock money to put into the pool for the Public Service Group wages fiasco for the next year or so. What was that I heard about being resistant to change ?There are three police organisations that generally operate in Spain. They are all armed:

The Guardia Civil (Civil Guard)

These are recognised by their green uniforms and are responsible for national security, customs and crowd control. You will usually see them on the motorway in either cars or on motorbikes as they do speed checks.

The National Police (La Policia) They wear either a black uniform and a white shirt or a blue military style uniform. Their duties include guarding public buildings, the Royal Family and Government figures. If you are a victim of street crime these are the police that will deal with your case.

The Municipal Police

They wear blue and white uniforms. They are responsible to the mayor and town hall in each municipality, and their duties include controlling local traffic and parking violations.

In France there are two levels of  Policing. 

The National Police (Police Nationale), formerly the SûretéNationale, is one of two National Police forces and the main civil law enforcement agency of France, with primary jurisdiction in cities and large towns.

The other main agency is the military Gendarmerie, with primary jurisdiction in smaller towns and rural and border areas.

The Gendarmerie Nationale is divided into the gendarmerie départementale and the gendarmerie mobile. The National Gendarmerie consisted of 103,866 personnel in 2005.

The Departmentale units are split the French admininstrative Departments, as the name suggests.  The mobile, well they wear black and you might have seen them on the news, the ones with CRS on the uniforms. This is French for kicking ass.

The National Police comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior and has about 150,000 employees.

The National Police operate mostly in large cities and towns. In that context:

  • it conducts security operations (patrols, traffic control, identity checks…)
  • under the orders and supervision of the Investigating Magistrates of the judiciary, it conducts criminal enquiries, serves search warrants, etc.; it maintains specific services (“judicial police”) for criminal enquiries.

 In Italy, Italian public security is provided by five separate Police Forces:

  1. Arma dei Carabinieri, Military police.
  2. Guardia di Finanza, financial and customs police, also organized as a military force.
  3. Polizia di Stato, state police. A civil Police Force.
  4. Polizia Penitenziaria, penitentiary police.
  5. and Corpo Forestale dello Stato, forestry police.

9 Responses

  1. Pcso’s-Hmmmm I must admit I am not a fan, especially when I turned up to a job and one tried (Yes stupidly) tried to give me orders as to what to do with my dog-suitable advice was rendered forthwith!

    So what happends with Pcso’s when the government funding is withdrawn?

  2. Aint the spanners in the tool box that worries me, tis the spanners at t’home office!

  3. I find it disturbing to talk to PCSOs who tell you how they were turned down as unsuitable to be police officers, but then “I got in anyways”. If they were unsuited to being on the streets as police officers, then they shouldn’t be on the streets in any official capacity at all.

    And no, I’m not saying all PCSOs are like but I have met a few who were.

  4. Hmmmmmm,

    They are a highly visible uniform on the street that stays on the street because they dont have on-going enquiries like Police Officers. And this is all Mrs Miggins wants to see.
    Also they can stand on cordons. This beats a well trained Police Officer standing there doing it, when they could be doing other things.

    That said I dont like the two tier system it has produced. And just like Police Officers…. There are some good ones and some real choppers.

  5. Quite a good comparision, these tiered layers of Policing.
    And true, there are many things wrong with the PCSO scheme, (I should know I’ve been one since the early days), but I do not think they will be dissapearing any time soon. This government will never get rid of PCSO’s as it was their idea. The Tories may slow the programme, but won’t stop the show as the public does want bodies in uniform on the street. There is no way the home office will get rid of enough paperwork to put many PC’s back on the street.

    P.S. When do I get my gun?

  6. In Germany, they have a sub-division called the Ordnungsamt. These seem to be the traffic police and traffic wardens rolled into one, and they’re armed (traffic wardens that can shoot you?!).

    Amusingly, police uniforms are green and even with their automatic pistols, the Old Wilhelms still look like park attendants.

    This is wildly off-topic but I once saw a German ‘police camera action’ type progamme and it included UK footage of a helicopter pursuit of an armed man driving down a motorway (may have been famous in the UK). He even fired at the helicopter at one point. Finally , several patrol cars cornered them in what, to an MoP, looked like a textbook professional operation and, after a stand-off where the police could easily have shot them, got them to surrender quietly.

    The voice over said ‘because this is the British police, they don’t shoot unless they have to ‘. And he said it very, very respectfully.

    I may put this onto another police blog. I don’t suppose MoP’s comments carry much weight on police blogs (fair enough -our jobs are mostly cushy by comparison) but it can’t hurt to know they’re well-regarded abroad.

    Especially because the German police do seem to be, well, very efficient (attended my burglary a couple of hours after I called them & they dusted for prints). They also seem to be a lot less troubled by PC (a connection?). They do tend to stop minorities more (this mostly meant Turkish where I lived), but then again they did seem to commit most of the crime (generalisation -I don’t know the figures for the county).

  7. So which one of those DOESNT do hospital guards/front office/gaoler duties? I’ll sign up straight away 🙂

  8. Actually, in France the CRS are not part of the Gendarmerie, they are the equivalent of the “gendarmerie mobile” ( mobile/riot unit) but for the National Police.
    they also have a 3rd level of policing, the Police Municipale, they do patrols and non serious/non emergency jobs, the same job as a PCSO basically except they have guns/batons/cs and dogs…

  9. Just before I retired, my force introduced Traffic PCSOs whose role was to team up with, and support, Traffic officers, thereby allowing more Police officers to patrol different areas. What actually happened is that they reduced the number of Police officers and allowed TPCSOs to double crew up and patrol traffic cars. When they attend RTCs they can’t issue FPNs, HO/RTs do breath tests or report people – they have to call on Police officers to do this. It’s not the fault of the PCSOs – I’d normally do their job for 7/8ths of a PCs wages – but what use are they really?

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