Groupe d'Intervention de la Police Nationale
In the summer 1972, members of the "Black September" terrorist group seized part of the Munich Olympic village killing several Israeli athletes and taking the rest hostage. This episode ended in a blood bath after the German police tried to conduct an assault on the group. As a result, on September 15, 1972, Raymond Marcellin, Minister of Interior Department, conceived the idea of creating special "intervention groups " within the French Police Nationale, with the first of the new units being formed in Paris on October 1, 1972. Additional units were authorized on October 27 of the same year.
Each of the new units was designated a Groupe d'Intervention de la Police Nationale (National Police Intervention Groups), and was the equivalent of a U.S.
police Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) team. They were originally composed of 15 men each. Due to financial constraints, their size was reduced to 11 men the
following year, and they continued to operate thus until 1984 when they were further reduced to 7 men. On November 10, 1987, their territorial and functional
competencies were regulated.
Their stated mission is to fight violent crimes such as bank robberies, prison riots, etc., and to deal with unusual situations (hostage situations, terrorism). They can also act as a support unit for other police intervention forces (RAID), the Criminal Investigations Department (PJ) and other branches of the Police Nationale.
The Police Nationale currently maintains nine GIPN units operating throughout France and its territories. Each unit is responsible for conducting operations within a designated geographic area. The size if the GIPN team will vary depending on its assigned location. The following is a list of the current operational teams and their sizes:
GIPN's arsenal includes the MR-73 revolver, Smith & Wesson .38 cal. revolvers, Barreta 92FS 9mm pistols, SIG 551 5.56mm assault rifles, HK MP-5A5 9mm sub-machineguns, Steyr-Mannlicher SSG sniper rifles, Benelli shotguns, and PGM Ultima Ratio rifles.