Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Alps mountains, France is the largest country in Western Europe, with an area of 212,355 square miles. The French Republic has a population of 60.7 million (2001), and is divided into 22 regions, which are themselves subdivided into 96 departments. France also has several overseas departments, as well as territories in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific and Indian Oceans. France is one of the founding countries of the European Union. The French policing system is defined by its dualism, with two major national police forces (the National Police and the National Gendarmerie), and by the fact that it is not seen as emanating from the people, like its British counterpart, but rather from the state. Both forces are vested with similar police powers, but they exercise them over distinct geographical jurisdictions: The National Police covers towns and cities with ...