Zandarmerija is a military body in Serbia charged with special police duties.
On Jun 28th 2001, Zandarmerija is reactivated in Serbia under the Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic. Special Operation Unit (JSO) and Special Police Unit (PJP) where attached to Žandarmerija. At this moment, this is the only unit completely equipped by NATO standards. Žandarmerija’s duties are civil, armed and other.
It is comprised of 4 squads; every squad consisting of 500 officers. Its bases are located in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kraljevo.
The main assignments of the Žandarmerija are:
- Restoring peace and stability if they have been heavily disturbed
- Fighting terrorist and other violent groups
- Repressing riots in prisons
Civil duties: to provide security and public peace, to investigate and prevent organized crime, terrorism and other violent groups; to protect state and private property; to help and assist civilians and other emergency forces in a case of emergency, natural disaster, civil unrest and armed conflicts.
Military duties: to provide, preserve and protect security and public peace, public order, to protect state and private property, to assist other security forces in case of emergency, civil unrest, war; to repress riots; to reinforce martial law and mobilization; to fight and apprehend suspect criminals, terrorists and other violent groups.
Other duties: To perform duties in the decrees of law and regulations other than civil, military and other duties and the duties given by the governmental decrees based on them.
The name “žandarmerija” comes from French word “gendarmerie“. The Žandarmerija corps dates back to 1860 and originally comprised 120 officers.
Serbian gendarmerie from 19th century
Since the establishment of gendarmerie in 1860 in Serbia, there had been a need for thorough training of gendarmes, esp. in Belgrade. According to needs, prominent police members held lessons to the members of gendarmerie. First lectures for gendarmerie were periodical, unsystematic and without defined curriculum, but still important, because they represented the first steps in training and education of Serbian gendarmerie. First vocational lectures date from 1880, 1883 and 1884, when Mr. Tanasije Tasa Milenković, member of the Belgrade Police, gave lectures about police service to the gendarmes in the Command, and to non-commissioned officers of the gendarmerie.
First school for gendarmes was founded in 1899 and it was situated in Dorćol. It was closed a year after. Constant school for gendarmerie was founded in 1909, i.e. courses and regular lectures began. In the beginning courses in the school lasted for three and later for four months. Classes were divided into military and police subjects.
After the World War I, training and education of gendarmerie was approached more seriously. It was realized in the fact that the teaching in gendarmerie was lawfully regulated, so the total system of education of this formation was created between the two World Wars.
Lectures were conducted in the stations of the gendarmerie (Training and education of gendarmes in the stations of the gendarmerie was permanent. Commander of the station of the gendarmerie, oldest and best gendarmes and sergeants had the main role in it.) and vocational schools of the gendarmerie:
(a) Preparatory schools for the gendarmerie; (b) Schools for patrol leaders; (c) School for non-commissioned officers of the gendarmerie; (d) Informative courses for the offices of the gendarmerie.
Goal and objective of the Preparatory school for the gendarmerie was to qualify a young gendarme who had just enlisted in the gendarmerie for individual performance of services and duties. Courses lasted for three months and the objective of the School for patrol leaders was to qualify a number of gendarmes for leadership of patrols and provide sufficient number of patrol leaders who will contribute to successful performance of services in regions of gendarmerie stations. Courses lasted for four months.
Goal and objective of the School for non-commissioned officers of the gendarmerie was to prepare well-trained non-commissioned officers and in that way provide sufficient number of non-commissioned officers of the gendarmerie, i.e. senior officers of gendarmerie stations and their representatives. Course lasted for six months.
Žandarmerija Present Day
It was disbanded after World War II only to be restored in 2001 as a special police force, upon an act issued by the Minister of Interior Dušan Mihajlović.