Paris terror attacks heighten bitter divide between police and gendarmerie

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Policing in France is divided up between the national police force, which covers urban areas, and the gendarmerie, which covers mostly rural zones. The two forces have a historic rivalry, which is further complicated by the sometimes surreal bureaucracy concerning their geographical limits of operation. The terrorist attacks in France in 2015 have exacerbated the mistrust between the two, beginning with tensions between their elite intervention forces which have now spread through the ranks and into mutually denigrating rumour campaigns relayed by the media. Matthieu Suc reports.

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On January 28th, French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve attended a traditional New Year ceremony with a union representing senior police officers, during which he heaped praise upon Jean-Michel Fauvergue, head of the national police force’s elite intervention squad, the RAID.