Republic of Vietnam National Police

The Republic of Vietnam National Police – RVNP (Vietnamese: Cảnh sát Quốc gia Việt Nam Cộng hòa), Police Nationale de la République du Vietnam or Police Nationale for short (Vietnamese: Cảnh sát Quốc giaCSQG) in French,[1] was the official South Vietnamese national police force from 1962 to 1975, operating closely with the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during the Vietnam War.

Republic of Vietnam National Police
Cảnh sát Quốc gia Việt Nam Cộng hòa
RVN National Police Flag.svg
Flag of the Republic of Vietnam National Police
Agency overview
Superseding agency
MottoTổ quốc, Công minh, Liêm chính (Fatherland, Justice, Integrity)
Employees130,000 agents (at height in 1973)
Annual budget7,000,000 piastres
Agency executive


The Republic of Vietnam National Police was officially created by President Ngô Đình Diệm's national decree in June 1962, integrating all the existing internal security and paramilitary agencies raised by the French Union authorities during the First Indochina War between 1946 and 1954, into a single National Police Force who answered to the Directorate General of National Police (Vietnamese: Tổng cục cảnh sát quốc gia – TCCSQG). These included the Vietnamese Sûreté, the Saigon Municipal Police, elements of the colonial National Guard of South Vietnam (French: Garde Nationale du Viet Nam Sud – GNVS, or VBNV in Vietnamese), a rural Gendarmerie force or 'Civil Guard' (French: Garde Civile), the combat police (French: Police de Combat) and various provincial militia forces made of irregular auxiliaries (French: Supplétifs). Transferred to South Vietnamese control in 1955, all the aforementioned security units were integrated in the early 1960s into a new national police force with the exception of the Civil Guard, which was placed under the Ministry of Defence. The CSQG had an initial strength of only 16,000 uniformed and plainclothes agents, being essentially an urban constabulary with no rural Gendarmerie component to counter the threat posed by the increasing Viet Cong (VC) insurgency in the countryside.[2]

The National Police under DiệmEdit

Even before the official creation of the National Police, President Diệm was quick to employ the security forces inherited from the French in repressing both internal political dissent and organized crime. Throughout the late 1950s and into 1960, they helped the Vietnamese National Army (VNA) in suppressing the Hòa Hảo and Cao Đài militant religious and political sects, with approximately 25,000 armed militiamen, and the smaller but better organized Bình Xuyên Saigon-based gangster group.[3]

The final years 1971-75Edit

The CSQG strength peaked in February 1971 at 103,859 personnel – including 3,144 female agents, mostly engaged in clerical work[4] –, 4,450 vehicles and some 830 motorcycles of various types. However, out of this total only 27,565 officers and enlisted men were of career status, the remainder being on contract, daily paid or floating assimilated.[5] Plans were drawn late that year to further expand the Police to 124,050 and later to 160,000, though the actual authorized strength in 1973 stood at about 130,000 men and women.


The CSQG was organized at national level with logistical and administrative support from Saigon, but individual police departments were under the operational control of the provincial police chiefs. All components of the Police system were administered directly by the Directorate General of National Police (TCCSQG) at the National Police Headquarters in Saigon, which also provided technical or combat support for law-enforcement and other internal security duties throughout the Country. The Directorate General was headed by Sub-Brigadier general Nguyễn Ngọc Loan, who led a staff comprising a deputy director and six assistant directors for administration, personnel and training, intelligence, operations, Field Forces and scientific police. By the late 1960s, the Vietnamese National Police was organized into nine major specialized departments or 'branches', which were:

Training facilitiesEdit

All instruction and management of training facilities fell upon the Personnel and Training Directorate (Vietnamese: Ban nhân sự và đào tạo) at National Police headquarters in Saigon. Recruits first underwent the basic 12-week course, which consisted primarily of weapons handling, tactics, Taekwondo and drill, ministered at the main CSQG Training Centre (Vietnamese: Trung tâm đào tạo CSQG) located at Rach Dua, near Vũng Tàu. After finishing the course, the best-qualified students were selected to be sent for officer training to the National Police Academy (Vietnamese: Học viện cảnh sát quốc gia) at Hoc Viên, where they attended advanced instruction programs at all levels, which comprised:

  • Officer promotion courses up to and including the rank of Lieutenant colonel;
  • Administrative and staff training;
  • Senior officer seminars;
  • Judicial Police training for officers and NCOs;
  • Instructors' courses at both officer and lower rank levels.

Those recruits with lower qualifications went instead to the Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) School run by the ARVN at its Combat Training Centre (Vietnamese: Trung tâm huấn luyện chiến đấu) in Da Lat, co-located to the namesake South Vietnamese Armed Forces Military Academy, where they received special training that would enable them to graduate as Police NCOs.

Specialists such as field policemen, patrol boat crewmen, vehicle drivers (this category included squad car, armoured car and Jeep drivers, and motorcyclists), radio operators, medics, mechanics, and clerks were trained in various other National Police and Armed Forces' schools. More specialized training was also provided to selected male and female personnel assigned to the other CSQG branches. River and Coastal Police boat crews were trained at the Marine Police Training Centre (Vietnamese: Trung tâm huấn luyện cảnh sát biển) co-located at their Phú Xuân HQ, near Huế.[6] Field Police personnel – including officers and NCOs – underwent eight weeks' of training in paramilitary skills at the Mã Lai Á and Phi Luât Tân CSQG training Centres. Instruction covered subjects such as jungle warfare, intelligence-gathering operations, law-enforcement and riot control techniques. To upgrade their capabilities, squads and platoons were returned periodically to these training centers for six weeks of unit refresher training, but for most CSDC companies and battalions posted in the provinces their refresher course actually took place at the regional training centers.

Foreign assistanceEdit

Additional military "on the job" training was provided to Field Police units in the field by U.S. Mobile Training Teams[7] or by Australian advisors from the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV).[8] Selected officer students attended specialized courses at the International Police Academy in Washington, D.C. while other students were sent to the Royal Malaysian Police Field Force Special Training Centre (Malay: Sekolah Latihan Pasukan Polis Hutan; SLPPH) at Kentonmen, Ulu Kinta, Perak in Malaysia to attend advanced specialized police and instructor's courses; after graduation, some of these new National Police officers upon returning to South Vietnam would them be posted as Field Police instructors at the Police training centres to pass on their skills to CSDC recruits.[9]

List of National Police Director-GeneralsEdit

List of National Police CommandersEdit

Uniforms and insigniaEdit

The Traffic Control Police agents were given an all-white cotton service uniform consisting of a long-sleeved shirt and trousers, worn with a matching white peaked cap; the shirt had dark blue removable shoulder boards and badges and other insignia were in silvered metal.[10]

Field Police troopers were given a black beret, worn French-style pulled to the left with the National Police cap badge placed above the right eye.[11]

A US M-1 Helmet liner painted in shiny black, marked with white-and-red stripes at the sides and the initials "TC" (Vietnamese: Tuấn Chân – patrol) was worn by National Police constables assigned patrol duties or riot control in urban areas.[12]

Rank insigniaEdit

Captain Nguyen Van Diep.

1955–1962 ranksEdit

1962–1971 ranksEdit

1971–1975 ranksEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tarrius, La Police de Campagne du Sud-Vietnam 1967–1975 (2005), p. 37.
  2. ^ Sir Robert Thompson et al, Report on the Republic of Vietnam National Police (1971), p. 3.
  3. ^ Rottman and Bujeiro, Army of the Republic of Vietnam 1955-75 (2010), p. 8.
  4. ^ Sir Robert Thompson et al, Report on the Republic of Vietnam National Police (1971), p. 75.
  5. ^ Sir Robert Thompson et al, Report on the Republic of Vietnam National Police (1971), Appendix H, p. 3.
  6. ^ Sir Robert Thompson et al, Report on the Republic of Vietnam National Police, (1971), Appendix H, p. 1.
  7. ^ de Lee, Guerrilla Warfare (1985), p. 56.
  8. ^ Lyles, Vietnam ANZACs: Australian & New Zealand Troops in Vietnam (2004), p. 7.
  9. ^ Conboy and McCouaig, South-East Asian Special Forces (1991), p. 27.
  10. ^ Tarrius, La Police de Campagne du Sud-Vietnam 1967–1975 (2005), pp. 37-38.
  11. ^ Russell and Chappell, Armies of the Vietnam War 2 (1983), p. 35, Plate G1.
  12. ^ Rottman and Bujeiro, Army of the Republic of Vietnam 1955–75 (2010), p. 47, Plate H3.


  • Gordon L. Rottman and Ramiro Bujeiro, Army of the Republic of Vietnam 1955–75, Men-at-arms series 458, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford 2010. ISBN 978-1-84908-182-5
  • James Arnold, Tet Offensive 1968 – Turning point in Vietnam, Campaign series 4, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London 1990. ISBN 9780850459609
  • Kevin Lyles, Vietnam ANZACs – Australian & New Zealand Troops in Vietnam 1962–72, Elite series 103, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford 2004. ISBN 9781841767024
  • Lee E. Russell and Mike Chappell, Armies of the Vietnam War 2, Men-at-arms series 143, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London 1983. ISBN 0-85045-514-6.
  • Nigel de Lee, Chapter 2 – Southeast Asia: the impact of Mao Tse-tung (pp. 48–61) in John Pimlott (ed.), Guerrilla Warfare, Bison Books Ltd., London 1985. ISBN 0861242254
  • Phillip Katcher and Mike Chappell, Armies of the Vietnam War 1962–1975, Men-at-arms series 104, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London 1980. ISBN 978-0-85045-360-7
  • Sir Robert Thompson et al., Report on the Republic of Vietnam National Police, 1971. [available online at]
  • Thanh Kim Pham, Lịch sử ngành Cảnh sát Quốc gia VNCH. (in Vietnamese)
  • Valéry Tarrius, La Police de Campagne du Sud-Vietnam 1967–1975, in Armes Militaria magazine, March 2005 issue, Histoire & Collections, Paris, pp. 37–43. ISSN 0753-1877 (in French)

Further readingEdit

  • Leroy Thompson, Michael Chappell, Malcolm McGregor and Ken MacSwan, Uniforms of the Indo-China and Vietnam Wars, Blandford Press, London 1984. ASIN: B001VO7QSI
  • Martin Windrow and Mike Chappell, The French Indochina War 1946–54, Men-at-arms series 322, Osprey Publishing Ltd, Oxford 1998. ISBN 978-1-85532-789-4
  • Kenneth Conboy and Simon McCouaig, South-East Asian Special Forces, Elite series 33, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London 1991. ISBN 1-85532-106-8

External linksEdit