The gendarmerie alternative: is there a case for police services with a military status in the 21st century European police apparatus?

Gobinet, Pierre (2006) The gendarmerie alternative: is there a case for police services with a military status in the 21st century European police apparatus? MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (205kB)


    Historical literature traditionally assimilates gendarmerie forces with old-fashioned, centralised, colonial, or totalitarian regimes. Similarly, the media and much of the current academic literature seem to consider the gendarmerie model as antiquated, and unable to meet the demands of public accountability or human rights compliance associated with modern democratic policing. How then can France, Italy or the Netherlands still reasonably promote it as a credible policing alternative? Gendarmeries are generally covered by the defence-related media, but receive very little attention from the European criminal justice community. The terminology used in the media articles is predominantly military, and bears apparently little significance to the realm of civilian police practitioners, even less so to the Anglo-American criminal justice academic circles. On closer inspection however, it appears that gendarmeries are mainly tasked to perform public order, riot control and criminal police duties in many European democracies. This unique association of military semantics with civilian police concepts symbolises the gendarmerie concept which can, despite its reminiscent old-fashioned image, fulfil the requirements of a modern police system and provide a substantial added value with public, specialised and professional police units. This research consists of a critical analysis of the existing literature in order to examine how gendarmeries are viewed by the English-speaking academic community, and most importantly, why this perception has become flawed and incomplete. One of the lead arguments is that the terminology habitually used to describe the gendarmerie model, because it wrongly suggests a persistent functional discrepancy between these forces and their civilian counterparts found for instance in Common Law countries, actually conceals the fact that gendarmeries have become important actors on the European policing scene. As well as pointing out the gaps and misconceptions in the existing Anglo-American academic literature, this research singles out arguments which demonstrate that police forces bearing a military status present useful features and credentials to promote the liberal-democratic policing ideal in 21st century Europe.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...