I am guessing that most people reading this have heard of them and have an idea of their remit, but if not get yourself over and have a read of their website. They are a rapid deployment armed police force drawn from 6 nations police forces and available to respond to civil disputes, within and beyond the EU but organised to be answerable to the EU's directions. Their uniform displays the EU ring of stars flag, which as you probably will know was in the last year officially adopted by the EU Commission & Parliament as the official flag of the EU (despite being dropped from Lisbon for making the treaty "Constitutional").
My guess is that they will be quietly deployed in the UK at first, in situations where there will be no trouble what-so-ever, so that as disillusion grows with the EU with so many of Europe's economies struggling they can then be deployed to quosh any dissent under the auspicious notion that they were so well received in their initial postings.
This is something I really hope we in the Blogosphere can keep an eye on and make some noise about because I really do not think there is any situation in which the masses of the UK will tolerate a foreign armed police service patrolling us... It is a recipe for bloodshed.
Let me quote from the EGF Tactical Level Page:
Tactical level : EGF FORCE
Units of EGF during a mission are placed under a defined chain of command. These units can be put either under military command or civil authority, in order to guarantee public security, public order and to fulfill judiciary police tasks.
An EGF force, is not a standing force, and is generated and deployed on an ad hoc basis. It may be a rapidly deployed police force of a maximum of 800 police officers, under a 30 days notice, including a rapidly deployed HQ in the field, for which the core will be provided by the permanent HQ. As the police units that can reinforce an EGF mission are identical to those declared in the framework of the Helsinki capacity catalogue and at the capacity conference held in Brussels on November the 19th, 2001, the total strength of the Force could reach 2300.
The Force will act in accordance with the operational concepts developed by EU in relation to the employement to the so called IPU (Integrated Police Unit) which includes :
- an operational component, dedicated to missions of general public security and maintenance of public order;
- a crime fighting component, including specialist in criminal investigation missions, detection, gathering, information analysis and processing, protection and assistance of individuals, traffic control, Explosive Ordenance Disposal (EOD), fight against terrorism and other major crimes, and other specialists;
- a logistic support component, able to perform all activities related to supplies, restocking, maintenance, recovery and evacuation of equipment, transportation, medical and health care.