Research and Intervention Brigade

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Brigade de Recherche et d'Intervention (French)
Active 1964–present
Country  France
Branch French National Police
Type Law enforcement
Role Law Enforcement
Counter-terrorism (BRI-PP)
Nickname(s) Brigade antigang
Engagements 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting
November 2015 Paris attacks
Robert Broussard

A Research and Intervention Brigade, commonly abbreviated BRI (About this sound pronunciation ) (French: Brigade de Recherche et d'Intervention), often called "Anti-Gang Brigade", is a unit of the French National Police.[1]

BRIs specialise in serious criminal cases such as armed robbery and kidnappings. They typically attempt to catch offenders in the act after monitoring their activities, a technique that was first experimented in the 1960s by the then-new Paris BRI.

They use a mix of traditional techniques and modern technology to collect and archive data about banditry.

There are now more than 15 BRI units, located in France's major cities. The first of them, the Paris BRI (or BRI-PP for Préfecture de Police), was created in 1964.

In 1972, in the wake of the Munich massacre, it was decided that BRI-PP would, as an additional task, form the nucleus of a SWAT task force known as Brigade Anti-Commando (Counter-commando Brigade) or BRI-BAC. BRI-BAC, when activated, is reinforced by other specialised units of the Préfecture de police. It has been involved in the resolution of hostage crises from its beginnings in the early 1970s to the Porte de Vincennes siege in January 2015 and the "Bataclan" assault during the November 2015 Paris attacks. In the last two cases, BRI-BAC and the National Police's RAID operated together as part of the National Police Intervention Force (French: Force d'Intervention de la Police nationale or FIPN).


The first BRI, BRI-PP was created in Paris in 1964. François le Mouël, a police commissary with the Paris Préfecture de Police (PP), suggested that there were situations when, instead of waiting until a crime had been committed to start an inquiry, the police could achieve better results by keeping a close watch on known or suspected criminals and/or some of their potential targets. The criminals would then be arrested - either just before the crime took place or soon after but never during the action itself - so that there would be enough evidence for prosecution while avoiding the risks of shoot-outs and innocent victims. Initially set up as a new section in one of the PP's Directorate of Judiciary Police brigades, BRI became a separate brigade in 1967, still under le Mouël's leadership.

The BRI method was innovative enough so that it was widely copied all around France and in other European countries.

One of the better-known BRI successes was achieved in 1977 when the raptors of banker Gérard Mallet, who had been under surveillance for more than four months,[2] were arrested less than four hours after they had committed their crime.


BRI-PP PVP armored truck
  • All BRI units - including Paris BRI-PP : Judiciary police work with an emphasis on flagrante delicto cases. All BRIs can set up special response teams in case of a terrorist attack.
  • Paris BRI (BRI-PP) when activated as BRI-BAC (French: brigade anticommando): crisis response in hostage and terrorism cases.


Logo of the BRI of Bayonne

The BRIs are primarily judiciary police units and, contrary to RAID, their members operate in plain clothes for most missions. Hoods are used to ensure anonymity during some of these missions.

Besides the Paris BRI, there are a dozen regional BRI units and two "National" unit:

  • BRI-N (or BRI-NAT) based in Nanterre (near Paris) and in charge of assisting when inquiries are conducted at the national level.
  • BRI-FN attached to the financial crime directorate of the National Police

BRI-PP commanders[edit]

  • François Le Mouël (1964 - 1971) Section de recherche et d'intervention until 1967 then BRI
  • Jean Sautereau (1971-1974)
  • Marcel Leclerc (1974-1978)
  • Robert Broussard (1978-1982)
  • René-Georges Querry (1982-1983)
  • Claude Cancès (1983-1987)
  • Pierre Cavin (1987-1989)
  • Jean-Marc Bloch (1989-1996)
  • Yves Jobic (1996-2001)
  • Jean-Jacques Herlem (2001-2003)
  • Christian Flaesch (2003-2004)
  • Pascal Carreau (2004-2008)
  • Michel Faury (2008-2013)
  • Christophe Molmy (current)




  1. ^ The National Police is one of the two national police forces of France, together with the National Gendarmerie. They both come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior (Ministère de l'Intérieur).
  2. ^ Mémoires du commissaire Broussard (Commissary Broussard remembers). Robert Broussard. Nouveau Monde Editions, Paris - 2012


  • Philippe Poulet and Jean-François Guiot (2006). BRI : La brigade anti-gang du 36 Quai des Orfèvres (in French). Mission Spéciale Productions. ISBN 291635705X. 
  • Danielle Thiéry and Michel Faury (2011). BRI Histoire d'une unité d'élite (in French). Duvernet, Paris. ISBN 2847243488. 
  • Robert Broussard (2012). Mémoires du commissaire Broussard (Commissary Broussard remembers) (in French). Nouveau Monde Editions, Paris. ISBN 978-2-84736-669-3. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]