Sûreté Nationale (Algeria)
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The Sûreté Nationale is the civil police of Algeria. It polices Algeria's larger cities and urban areas. The Sûreté is part of the Ministry of Interior and is charged with maintaining law and order, protecting life and property, investigating crimes, and apprehending offenders. It also performs other routine police functions, including traffic control.
The Sûreté is headed by an Director General and in 2007 consisted of a force of 130,000 and is believed to be organized along the lines of the French National Police, with operational and investigative branches and supporting services.
The Judicial Police branch is responsible for criminal investigations, working in close coordination with the Office of the Public Prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice. Police are assigned to the capitals of the wilayat are under the nominal control of the individual governors. A special riot police force is equipped with modern riot-control gear. Although the police were able to cope with urban disturbances and violence during the early and mid-1980s, the military had to be called in to help quell the severe riots in late 1988. 1
Elements of the Sûreté also play a role in countering threats to the government arising from political subversion. The Sûreté assigns police contingents to work with customs inspectors at legal points of entry to control illegal activities. Their main concerns are apprehending undesirable immigrants and contraband traffickers.
1. Library of Congress Country Study Algeria
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