The first bodies of Swiss gendarmes have their origins in the foot gendarmes that served Napoleon Bonaparte during his stay in Switzerland, while this country was occupied by the French,
Currently, police authority is exercised by individual cantons, which are like Sovereign states. The cantonal police force is generally subdivided in two bodies:
- the gendarmerie, the uniformed organization in which performs the tasks of police patrol and response, and may conduct judicial enquiries.
- the sûreté, civil investigators who work in the Criminal Investigation Department (average and serious crime)
However in certain cantons, the gendarmes have the ability to conduct local or judicial enquiries.