Recherche Assistance Intervention Dissuasion (Research, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence) is the counter-terrorist unit of the French National Police. It is roughly the police equivalent of the GIGN (which is a Gendarmerie unit) and the Groupes d'Intervention de la Police Nationale (GIPN), intervention units similar to the RAID team (which is directly under orders of the Direction Générale de la Police Nationale)
The first intervention of RAID was widely publicised. On 13 May 1993, a disturbed man named Eric Schmitt, calling himself "HB" (for "Human Bomb", in English), and carrying large quantities of explosives, took 21 children hostages in a school in Neuilly. Nicolas Sarkozy, mayor of Neuilly at the time, managed to obtain the liberation of several children. After 46 hours, with the hostage-taker falling asleep, members of RAID crept into the school to evacuate the 6 remaining children. Schmitt was shot dead as he suddenly woke up and tried to reach the explosives. All the children were safe, as well as their teacher and a nurse.
Recently, RAID operators saw action during the 2005 and 2006 riots in France, as well as in a hostage situation in Versailles, where an armed man was shot dead by RAID operators after coming under attack.
RAID is in charge of the protection of foreign dignitaries traveling in France. Three of its members have died in service.
The first section deals with the usual tasks of special forces: intervention, monitoring, protection.
The second section is the Research and Development unit of the RAID. It studies techniques and collects information. This section is divided into three groups:
The Third section deals with the psychological aspects of the interventions. It is in charge of negotiations and crisis management.
It also provides psychological support for the policemen in the unit and in the whole French Police. It is composed of forensic experts, a psychologist and physicians.
The Negotiation group is on permanent alert. It deals with suicides, violent crises, mental disorders, hostage crises and other major troubles, independently from the rest of the RAID. It assesses the dangers of the situation, suggests possible solutions, and helps with the negotiations and the resolution of the crises. If the whole RAID has to intervene, the Negotiations section is used as a reconnaissance unit, and prepares the intervention of the other sections.