La Musique des Gardiens de la Paix (Police Band)
Founded at the Préfecture de Police in 1929, the Musique des gardiens de la paix is a unique musical ensemble, consisting of a concert wind band and a drum and bugle band.
The purpose of the Police Band is to perform works from the national and international repertoire, and commissioned works, at official events and private concerts.
Through its performances in France and abroad (over 100 concerts a year!), recordings, television and radio broadcasts, it contributes to the prestige of the Préfecture de Police and the City of Paris, and therefore plays an essential musical role at the frequent official ceremonies in the capital and its suburbs.
The Police Band consists of about one hundred musicians, who must all fulfil two criteria :
- firstly they must be professionally trained musicians, from the best Music Colleges;
- secondly they must be police officers.
This professional band is led by a top-quality conductor assisted by a deputy conductor.
Origin of the band
The origin of the Police Band lies in the formation of outdoor bands after the French Revolution, which were then used for civic festivals in the capital by the French Guards. However, the Police Band's actual beginnings go back to the creation of the Préfecture de Police. Napoleon's Penal Code called for a drum roll to announce the warning that weapons might be necessary during disturbances, before the police commissioner, wrapped in his tricolour scarf, gave out the order to fire.
A reputation for excellence
In addition to official ceremonies and protocols, the Police Band plays at major musical events at different venues around the capital (Salle Pleyel, Notre-Dame Cathedral, UNESCO, concert halls, the churches of Saint-Roch, Saint-Médard, Saint-Marcel, La Madeleine, Saint-Germain des Prés, Saint-Louis des Invalides, etc.), adds colour to the parks and gardens of the City of Paris (Bagatelle, Montsouris, etc.) and the Jardin du Luxembourg, and gives prestigious concerts both in France (the Berlioz Festival at La Côte Saint André; Le Havre festival) and abroad (Ludwigshafen, Vienna, Luxembourg, Italy, Japan, etc.). It also participates in musical events at schools and colleges.
The Police Band can be justly proud of its many recordings and broadcasts on radio and television. It has received many prizes, including the Académie Charles Cros prize and the Académie du Disque Français prize.
Its vast repertoire, which spans several centuries of music, also includes contemporary works.
It has made numerous recordings of French contemporary works and has been rewarded with prestigious prizes:
- Grand Prix from the Académie Charles Cros
- Grand Prix from the Académie du Disque Français
The special gymnastics brigade
All year round, the officers in the Préfecture de Police gymnastics brigade carry out police missions that call for their specific physical abilities, and also play a part in crime prevention by working with young people, particularly in schools. They also give international demonstrations.
High-level sportsmen and women
The officers of the special gymnastics brigade are selected for their physical performance and their ability to work in a team.
Every year, the brigade gives around 30 performances organised by the Préfecture de Police or the national police, and on request from other institutions and private organisations.
The first part of the performance showcases the officers' athletic qualities with exercises on the parallel bars and group floor routines. The second part, which is fun and artistic, presents acrobatic, comical numbers.
The special gymnastics brigade can be booked to give demonstrations, for a maximum of one hour fifteen minutes, which are adapted to the technical features of the location (outdoor or indoor, sports field or gym) and the public's expectations.
The brigade's police missions
The officers in the brigade belong to a specialist unit within the Prefecture de Police Public Order and Traffic Department. Their physical abilities and weekly training mean they are capable of carrying out missions that involve specific risks.
These include surveillance operations from the roofs of buildings, to prevent any risks inherent in the appearances of the Head of State and French and foreign VIPs.
They also operate in the Paris underground network, ensuring compliance with legislation concerning the 300km of quarries and catacombs in the capital.
Lastly, they support the security services at major sports events.