Service de Protection des Hautes Personnalités
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The Service de Protection des Hautes Personnalités (SPHP) or in English, VIP Protection Service, is a unit within the French National Police which is responsible for the protection of French and foreign dignitaries and the provision of technical security support. The SPHP also implements the necessary measures for the organization and security of official visits in France and abroad.
The service includes nearly 600 police officers and is headquartered on rue de Miromesnil in Paris near the Ministry of the Interior and the Palais de l'Élysée. The SPHP also has a permanent office in Strasbourg; home to several European institutions, including the European Parliament. Its members are recruited from within the French National Police, after three years of minimum service in the National Police, and after a period of training, holding office for one term, renewable for 5 years.
The Service de Protection des Hautes Personnalités includes:
- the Security Group of the Presidency of the Republic (GSPR);
- Along with operators from the Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion (RAID), a number of SPHP members serve with the joint security group Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République, which is tasked with protecting the President of France.
- Sub-Directorate of French dignitaries, which includes:
- the Security Group of the Prime Minister (GSPM);
- the Security Group of the Ministry of Interior (GSMI);
- Sub-directorate for foreign dignitaries;
- Sub-directorate for persons at risk;
- Sub-direction of resources and operational support (which has an operational support group).
The SPHP was established in 1934 under the name of "Official Travels Service" ("Voyages officiels" or "VO" in French) after the assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia and Louis Barthou in Marseilles. It adopted its current name in 1994. The SPHP is presently headed by Inspector General Jean-Louis Fiamenghi, who assumed the post in November 2007. Inspector General Fiamenghi was previously head of Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion (RAID), another unit within the French National Police.