Military Wiki
Groupes d'Intervention de la Police Nationale
Active 27 October 1972 - present
Country France France
Branch French National Police
Type Special Forces
Role Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Size about 200 operators
Garrison/HQ Bordeaux
Nouméa (Nouvelle-Calédonie)
Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe)
Saint-Denis (Réunion)
Motto(s) La cohésion fait la force ("Cohesion brings strength")
Mascot(s) Cobra
Engagements Neuilly hostage crisis
Anti-Action Directe arrests
Anti-GIA operations
2005 Paris Riots
Georges Nguyen Van Loc

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 seven by 1985. This was later expanded to nine 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.

Deployment of the GIPN in France

There are 9 GIPN units containing about 200 members of staff.[1] 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;

Weapons and equipment

The GIPN arsenal includes a wide range of weapons such as:

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.


Organised at the national level by the DCSP, the selections take place once a year and roll within a structure DFPN (ENP Saint-Malo or Nîmes) with the assistance of a group of psychologists. The first part of the selection is common to all the FIPN units.

All the National policemen and senior police officers apply, as long as they meet the administrative criteria a minimum of 5 years of service and be no more than 35 years old.

About fifty candidates are selected and conveyed to the selected site where, during a first week, they must pass a series of events, records review, personality tests, combat ability, claustrophobia, giddiness, athletic ability, swimming etc.

At the end of this first week, part of the candidates are eliminated, and the others continue with mental tests during 4 days.

After finishing these tests, a score of candidates will be admitted into the GIPN where their training now starts.

In popular culture

  • Books in French language:
    • José Nicolas, GIPN, Groupe d'Intervention de la Police Nationale, L'instantané, 2005 (ISBN 2-914720-12-2)
    • Bruno Bosilo, Jean-François Guiot, José Nicolas and Philippe Poulet, GIPN, Les Groupes d'intervention de la police nationale, Mission Spéciale Production, 2005 (ISBN 2-916357-01-7)
  • Written mass-media in French language:
    • Lyon GIPN, article published in RAIDS magazine, n°148, September 1998;
    • Marseille GIPN, article published in RAIDS magazine, n°225, February 2005;
    • Marseille GIPN, article published in Commando magazine, n°16;
    • GIPN - Les Groupes d'intervention de la Police nationale(French National Police Intervention Groups), article published in Commando magazine, n°21, February- March 2005;
    • Action G.I.P.N., article published in Pro-Sécurité magazine, n°29, July- August 2005;
    • Lille GIPN, article published in Missions 112 magazine, n°4, October 2005;
    • Les GIPN, une force dissuasive (G.I.P.N., a deterrent force), article published in Police Pro magazine, n°2, April- March 2007.
  • Documentaries:
    • Cobra 13, documentary on G.I.P.N. Marseille directed by Olivier Baudry and broadcast on 3 October 2001, (France 3, Des racines et des ailes - Roots and wings);
    • GIPN, les hommes du dernier recours, documentary on GIPN Nice directed by Nicolas Moscara and broadcast in 2003 on TF1, (Le Droit de savoir - The right to know);
    • GIPN, dans le secret des hommes d'action (G.I.P.N., the secret of action men), documentary on GIPN Bordeaux directed by Claire Perdrix and David Geoffrion, broadcast in 2005 on TF1, (Le Droit de savoir - The right to know);
    • Agressions, braquages, drogue : six mois avec les flics du GIPN (Aggressions, Robberies, Drugs: Six Months With G.I.P.N.'s Cops), documentary on GIPN Lille, broadcast in 2010 on TF1, (Appels d'urgence - Emergency calls).

See also


External links

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