Royal Lao Police
Seal of the Royal Lao Police.
The Royal Lao Police (French: Police royale laotiènne – PRL), was the official national police force of the Kingdom of Laos from 1949 to 1975, operating closely with the Royal Lao Armed Forces (FAR) during the Laotian Civil War between 1960 and 1975.
The Laotian security forces were divided into several 'branches of service', which comprised a plainclothes criminal investigation department, an urban constabulary, a regional gendarmerie and an counter-insurgency armed support unit. All these formations were answerable to the Laotian Ministry of the Interior of the Royal Lao Government in Vientiane.
The regular Laotian Police branch, this was the uniformed urban constabulary tasked of providing security and maintaining law and order in the main population centers, including the nation's capital city and the provincial capitals.
Direct heir of the French colonial 'Indigenous Guard', the paramilitary Laotian Gendarmerie was tasked of patrolling the countryside.
Directorate of National Coordination/Frontier Police
One particular ‘branch’ of the Laotian security forces that is worth mention is the Directorate of National Coordination or DNC (French: Direction de Coordination Nationale – DCN). The DNC was an airborne-qualified paramilitary élite police field force closely modelled after the Royal Thai Police Police Aerial Resupply Unit (PARU) 'Commandos' and similar in function to the Republic of Vietnam National Police Field Force. The unit had its origins in September 1960, when the PRL command ordered the creation of a ‘Special Mobile Group’ (French: Groupement Mobile Speciale – GMS) composed of two paramilitary special battalions (French: Bataillons Speciales – BS), 11th and 33rd BS.
List of PRL commanders
Notable PRL field commanders
- Lieutenant-Colonel Thao Ty
Uniforms and insignia
Royal Lao Police ranks
- Sip – Patrolman/Patrolwoman (no insignia)
- Sip – Patrolman 1st class/Patrolwoman 1st class (one red chevron pointed up)
- Sip Trii – Corporal (one white chevron pointed up)
- Sip Thó – Sergeant (two white chevrons pointed up)
- Sip Êek – Staff Sergeant (three white chevrons pointed up)
- Cãã Trii – Sergeant 1st class (one gold chevron edged red pointed down)
- Cãã Thó – Master Sergeant (two gold chevrons edged red pointed down)
- Cãã Êek – Sergeant Major (three gold chevrons edged red pointed down)
- Loei Trïï – 2nd Lieutenant (one five-pointed gold star)
- Loei Thö – 1st Lieutenant (two five-pointed gold stars)
- Loei Êek – Captain (three five-pointed gold stars)
- Phan Trïï – Major (one five-pointed star on a gold disc)
- Phan Thö – Lieutenant-Colonel (two five-pointed stars, one on a gold disc)
- Phan Êek – Colonel (three five-pointed stars, one on a gold disc)
- Phoun Chatäävä – Brigadier-General (two five-pointed silver stars)
- Phoun Trïï – Major-General/Director of the Royal Lao Police (three five-pointed silver stars)
- First Indochina War
- Laotian Civil War
- Vietnam War
- Royal Lao Armed Forces
- Republic of Vietnam National Police
- Royal Thai Police Aerial Resupply Unit (PARU)
- Kenneth Conboy and Simon McCouaig, The War in Laos 1960-75, Men-at-arms series 217, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London 1989. ISBN 9780850459388
- Kenneth Conboy and Simon McCouaig, South-East Asian Special Forces, Elite series 33, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London 1991. ISBN 1-85532-106-8
- Kenneth Conboy and Don Greer, War in Laos, 1954-1975, Carrolton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994. ISBN 0897473159