GIPN is an initialism for Groupes d'Intervention de la Police Nationale or French National Police Intervention Groups. Its motto is "La cohésion fait la force" or "Cohesion brings strength."
After the tragic events of the Munich massacre in which the Israeli team was kidnapped and killed by Palestinian terrorists, the various European police forces decided to form special units able to fight against forms of terrorism and for other crises such as excessive use of force, taking of hostages, escorts etc.
The first GIPN was created on 27 October 1972 in Marseille by the commissaire divisionnaire Georges Nguyen Van Loc and could only intervene at the request of judges or prosecutors. It was composed of thirty men who had the latest weapons and sophisticated equipment and the first hostage-rescue team, of the French National Police.
The National Police initially formed 11 intervention groups but reduced this number to 7 by 1985. This was later expanded to 9 with the creation of GIPN units in Réunion in 1992 and in New Caledonia in 1993.
All the GIPN units are in contact with each other and after each mission they send their synthesis and their strategies to the other groups to share knowledge of intervention techniques.
The Ministerial Circular of August 4, 1995 established the policies of the use of the GIPN: organization, rules of engagement, territorial competence, missions, principles of actions, implementation, means and coordination.
The GIPN are units of the Central Directorate of Public Security (Fr: Direction Centrale de la Sécurité Publique or DCSP) which is the uniformed patrol and response branch of the French National Police. The DCSP has competency in 75 departments and within the territorial services of 7 large provincial towns (Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon, Nice, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Rennes) and overseas (La Réunion, New Caledonia and Antilles- French Guiana).
RAID is a similar intervention force directly under the management of the national police force and of which the geographic competence which includes the 21 departments of Paris. RAID is also the leader unit of the FIPN which includes all the GIPN and the BRI of the Préfecture de Police de Paris.
Composed of police officers recruited according to very selective criteria, equipped with the best and latest material and subjected to a rigorous and followed drive, the GIPN can furnish groups of police officers to the service of other police units. Each unit is commanded by a senior police officer, assisted by a brigadier, brigadier-chef or brigadier-major (within the French National Police, this military rank corresponds approximately to the non-commissioned ranks in the military force). He has the command of his unit during an operation, having though assistance from other participating police services.
They intervene with other services of the National police force, each time the situation requires it, with the constant concern for the preservation of the physical integrity of negotiators and only to use necessary force strictly that as a last resort.
There are 9 GIPN units containing about 200 members of staff. In 1985 the number of the units was seven and all of them were located in metropolitan France. Two more units were created overseas in 1992 and 1993.
In metropolitan France there are 7 units:
Lille with 16 men;
Strasbourg with 16 men;
Lyon with 24 men;
Nice with 16 men;
Marseille with 24 men;
Bordeaux with 16 men;
Rennes with 16 men.
In the overseas departments and territories of France there are 2 units:
New Caledonia with 16 men;
Réunion with 16 men;
The GIPN arsenal includes a wide range of weapons such as:
Pistols - Sig Sauer SIG Pro SP2022 (specially developed for the French Polices in the biggest single sidearm contract since WW2 with 250.000 ordered guns for both polices), Glock 17 and Glock 26.
Revolvers - Manurhin MR-73, Blacksmith and Smith & Wesson 686.
Machine pistols - H&K MP5, A3 and SD6.
Assault rifles - H&K G36K and G36C, and the firm of the SSG 551 and 552 commando.
Sniper rifles - PGM Ultima Ratio, Steyr-Mannlicher SSG, Blaser LRS2, Tikka T3 Tactical.
Non-lethal weapons: Taser X26, LBD Brugger & Thomet 40x46, Verney-Carron Flash Ball.
As for personal protection, the GIPN maintains kevlar helmets with bulletproof visors, bulletproof vests of different categories (II; III; IV or V), guards and knuckles, armored shields.
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