Sūreté Nationale

Algeria Table of Contents

The Sūreté Nationale is the primary policing authority in Algeria's principal cities and other urban areas. Subordinated administratively to the Ministry of Interior, the Sūreté is charged with maintaining law and order, protecting life and property, investigating crimes, and apprehending offenders. In addition, it performs other routine police functions, including traffic control.

Under the direction of its inspector general, the Sūreté in 1993 consisted of a force of 16,000 and is believed to be organized along the lines of its French counterpart, with operational and investigative branches and supporting services. The judiciary police branch is responsible for criminal investigations, working in close coordination with the Office of the Public Prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice. Police elements assigned to the capitals of the wilayat are under the nominal control of the individual governors. A special riot police force is equipped with modern riot-control gear. Although the police were able to cope with urban disturbances and violence during the early and mid-1980s, the military had to be called in to help quell the severe riots in late 1988.

Elements of the Sūreté also play a role in countering threats to the government arising from political subversion. The Sūreté assigns police contingents to work with customs inspectors at legal points of entry to control illegal activities. Their main concerns are apprehending undesirable immigrants and contraband traffickers.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress