Paris Police Prefecture

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Préfecture de police de Paris
Agency overview
Formed 1667
Dissolved 1789, refounded in 1800
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Paris & Petite Couronne in the Île-de-France region, France
Préfecture de police de Paris (carte).png
Map of Préfecture de police de Paris's jurisdiction.
Size 762 km²
Population 6,673,591 (Jan. 1, 2010)
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Paris
Sworn members 34,000
Agency executive Michel Cadot[1], Préfet de Police
Districts 15
Stations 87
Préfecture de Police
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.
East facade, Préfecture de police and, on the right, Hôtel-Dieu hospital, seen from Notre-Dame de Paris.

The Paris Police Prefecture (French: Préfecture de police de Paris) is the unit of the French National Police which provides the police force for the city of Paris and the surrounding three suburban départements of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne. It is headed by the Prefect of Police (Préfet de police).

It is also in charge of emergency services, such as the Paris Fire Brigade, and performs administrative duties, such as issuing ID cards and driver licenses or monitoring alien residents. The Prefecture of Police also has limited security duties in the wider Île-de-France région.

The prefecture is a large building located in the Place Louis Lépine on the Île de la Cité. This building was built as a barracks for the Garde républicaine from 1863 to 1867 (architect Pierre-Victor Calliat) and was occupied by the Prefecture in 1871.

As it is the capital of France, with government assemblies and offices and foreign embassies, Paris poses special issues of security and public order. Consequently, the national government has been responsible for providing law enforcement and emergency services since the creation of the Lieutenancy General of Police (lieutenance générale de police) by Louis XIV on March 15, 1667. Disbanded at the start of the French Revolution in 1789, it was replaced by the current Prefecture of Police created by Napoléon I on February 17, 1800. This means that Paris does not have its own police municipale and that the Police Nationale provides these services directly as a subdivision of France's Ministry of the Interior.

In Parisian slang, the police are sometimes known as "the archers", a very old slang term in reference to the archers of the long-defunct Royal Watch.


Paris Police Headquarters at Place Louis Lépine, 1 rue de Lutèce, 75004 Paris (métro Cité).

The jurisdiction of the Prefecture of Police was initially the Seine département. Its jurisdiction also included the communes (municipalities) of Saint-Cloud, Sèvres, Meudon, and Enghien-les-Bains, which were located in the Seine-et-Oise département. These four communes were added in the 19th century to the jurisdiction of the Prefecture of Police in order to ensure special protection of the imperial/royal residences located there.

The Seine département was disbanded in 1968 and the jurisdiction of the Prefecture of Police is now the city of Paris (which is both a commune and a département) and the three surrounding départements of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne. This territory made up of four départements is larger than the pre-1968 Seine département.

The Prefecture of Police also has limited jurisdiction over the whole Île-de-France région for the coordination of law enforcement. The Prefect of Police, acting as Prefect of the Defense Zone of Paris (Préfet de la Zone de Défense de Paris), is in charge of planning non-military defense measures to keep public order, guarantee the security of public services, and organize rescue operations (in case of natural disaster) for the whole Île-de-France région (which is made up of eight départements, the four inner ones being the regular jurisdiction of the Prefecture of Police, and the four outer ones being outside of its regular jurisdiction). As such, he coordinates the work of the departmental préfets of Île-de-France.

Nomination and missions

Headed by a prefect titled The "Prefect of Police", who (as are all prefects) is named by the President in the Council of Ministers, and operates under the Minister of the Interior, commands the Prefecture which is responsible for the following:

  • security of Paris, if necessary in collaboration with the military;
  • issuing identification cards, drivers licenses, passports, residential and work permits for foreigners;
  • motor vehicle registration and traffic control;
  • registration of associations, and their creation, status modification and dissolution;
  • protection of the environment, general salubrity;
  • determining the dates of discount sales in large stores which can be held only twice a year;
  • issuing permits to bakeries/boulangeries for their summer vacation to assure that all the bakeries in a given neighborhood are not closed at the same time;
  • management of police and firefighters.

The Prefect of Police can issue arrêtés (local writs) defining rules pertaining to his field of competency. For instance, the rules of operation and security of Paris public parks are issued as joint arrêtés from the Mayor of Paris and the Prefect of Police.

The current Prefect of Police is fr (Bernard Boucault).

Until 1977, Paris had indeed no mayor and the police was essentially in the hands of the préfet de police. However, the powers of the mayor of Paris were increased at the expense of those of the Préfet de Police in 2002, notably for traffic and parking decisions (the préfet retains the responsibility on main thoroughfares such as the Champs-Élysées avenue, and on any street during the organization of demonstrations).

There is also a prefect of Paris, prefect for the Île-de-France region, whose services handle some tasks not devoted to the Police Prefect, such as certain classes of building permits.



Peugeot of the Paris Police Prefecture.
Police boat

The PP is headed by a politically appointed prefect who is assisted by the prevote, who is the senor police officer of the force. The Prefecture of Police is divided into three sub-prefectures headed by prefects due to their importance.

Because the Police Prefecture provides some services that are normally provided by city governments, its funding partially comes from the City of Paris and other city governments within its jurisdiction.

In addition to forces from the National Police, the Police Prefecture has traffic wardens or crossing guards who enforce parking rules; it has recently added some wardens that direct traffic at crossroads and other similar duties, known as circulation, with specific uniforms.

Prefect and Director of the Cabinet

Consists of the Cabinet (staff) itself

and 6 Local Directorates:

  • Public Security - uniformed police officers
    • Lost and Found Property
    • Central Accident Service
  • Public Order and Traffic Control - uniformed police who protect public buildings, provide crowd and traffic control services
  • Judicial Police - detectives and investigators (the 36 quai des Orfèvres)
  • General Information - records
  • Inspectorate - internal affairs
  • Paris Fire Brigade - the military unit which provides all fire and emergency ambulance services (other emergency medical services are provided by SAMU/SMUR)

and other agencies:

  • Classified Facility Inspectorate
  • Psychiatric Infirmary
  • Toxicology Laboratory
  • Central Laboratory-explosives, pollution, chemical analysis,electrical and fire safety, etc.

Prefect and Secretary General for the Administration of the Police

with four Administrative Directorates:

  • General Police-Administrative police duties
    • Medico-Legal Institute
  • Traffic, Transport and Trade
  • Population Protection - Public health matters.
    • Veterinary Service
  • Human Resources - Personnel, budget, equipment and police labor disputes.

Prefect and Secretary General for the Zone of Defence

with two agencies:


Renault Kangoo of the Prefecture of Police of Paris.
  • Budget
    • One billion Euros by National government
    • 488 million Euros by Paris and surrounding departments of the little crown.
  • Personnel
    • 45,860 employees, of which 30,200 police officers
    • 8,300 Military Personnel of the Paris Fire Brigade
  • 494 Facilities, stations and offices
  • 6,120 vehicles - includes police cars, firetrucks, motorcycles, boats and helicopters.


  • 350,000 incidents of crime reports
  • two million administrative documents issues
  • 200,000 drivers licenses issued

List of lieutenant generals and prefects of police

Before the French Revolution, the head of the Paris Police was the lieutenant général de police, whose office was created in March 1667 when the first modern police force in the world was set up by the government of King Louis XIV to police the city of Paris. The office vanished at the start of the French Revolution and police was vested in the hands of the Paris Commune. Reorganized by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1800, the Paris Police has been headed by the préfet de police since that time.

Lieutenant generals of police

Source: Centre historique des Archives nationales, Série Y, Châtelet de Paris, on page 38 of the PDF.

Prefects of police

Sources: La Grande Encyclopédie, volume 27, page 95, published in 1900. See scan of the full text at Gallica: [1]. / List of Prefects of Paris on [2]. / Archives of Le Monde: [3].

See also


External links

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