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Gendarmeries and constabulary-type police: Roles and responsibilities of police with mixed military and civilian characteristics

1 May, 2019


About this SSR Backgrounder

Gendarmeries and constabulary-type police go by many names, but all combine characteristics of both the military and civilian police. Because of their unique skill sets, demand for such forces to face new threats to domestic and international security has increased everywhere. However, the mixed military–civilian characteristics of gendarmeries and constabulary-type police pose special challenges for democratic civilian control and the appropriate use of force, especially in domestic law enforcement. This SSR Backgrounder describes the roles and functions of gendarmeries and similar forces and explains how applying the principles of good SSG enables them to fulfil their legitimate mission of protecting both state and human security with respect for human rights and the rule of law.

This SSR Backgrounder answers the following questions:

  • What are gendarmeries and constabulary-type police?
  • What roles can gendarmeries play in domestic security?
  • How can gendarmeries contribute to international security?
  • Are gendarmeries compatible with democratic security governance?
  • What does SSR mean for gendarmeries?