The Peacekeepers comprise a gendarmerie which is controlled by the Capitol, and tasked with maintaining order throughout the nation of Panem. They essentially act as the government's internal security force in the various districts. Led by a Head Peacekeeper who is the commander of the district's respective garrison, they ensure that the Capitol's laws are obeyed and punish those who break them (basically modern-day law enforcement). Peacekeepers serve as the Capitol's main instrument of control and repression by arresting political dissidents, outcasts and rebels. Peacekeepers form the bulk of both law enforcement and the military of the Capitol as they serve as foot soldiers, guards and hovercraft pilots. Peacekeeper costumes cost an estimated $80,000.00 to make for each complete costume without guns & holster.
AppearanceIn the The Hunger Games film, the uniforms are white with black stripes at the sleeves and collar. They include white helmets, similar to a motorcycle helmet, with a black stripe running down the center with the Capitol Seal and a transparent visor, black leather boots and gloves, with a baton on their belt. Some of the peacekeepers in the Training Center and most places in the Capitol wear a more ceremonial uniform with a beret instead of a helmet and a sash.
In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire film, their appearance is different from the first movie and their uniform is slightly more grey with a full helmet, except for head peacekeepers such as Romulus Thread and a few other peacekeepers around Panem: They have darker visors which hides their face, and heavier looking armor with white boots, knee pads on the pants and grey gloves. The chest plate also seems to be ribbed and covers a wider area. These changes might have just been a tactical uniform for heavier combat, since Peacekeepers were much more violent in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and they were attempting to be more intimidating in the wake of the 74th Hunger Games. It is unknown why Peacekeepers wear white all the time, even if there is not an arctic environment present. They seem to never wear camouflage suggesting that they are to be a highly visible reminder of the power of the Capitol.
Recruitment and Training
Peacekeepers are recruited from both the Capitol itself and from the loyal District 2. Those from District 2 join out of desire to serve or for the promise of food and compensation.
It is more difficult to recruit Peacekeepers from the Capitol, as Capitol citizens are used to a life of privilege and often reluctant to submit to a term of rigorous military service. Some join out of desire for honor or glory. Others join for other incentives, such as having their debts forgiven in exchange for their service.
They are trained mainly in District 2 before being deployed. Each Peacekeeper is obliged to serve a term of 20 years.
In The Hunger Games the Peacekeepers carried a baton. However in the District 11 riot they used a water cannon and riot shields. In Catching Fire when Romulus Thread takes charge with his group of new Peacekeepers they are heavily armed, mainly with FN P90 sub-machine guns but occasionally FN F2000 Tactical and IMI TAR-21 assault rifles (all with white coloration; the submachine guns are likely used due to the fact the vast majority of Panem residents are unarmed and an assault rifle would be inappropriate for riot control), and a Vektor CP1 handgun with a stainless-steel slide and white grip as the standard issue sidearm. In addition, all Peacekeepers carry an expandable baton for situations where a firearm is inappropriate. Peacekeepers are shown to use flamethrowers in the burning of the Hob. Romulus Thread uses a whip (which bears a strong resemblance to a Roman flagrum) and a Vektor CP1, however as he travels with guards he has no need to use any other weapons. In The Hunger Games: A Tribute Guide the Peacekeepers use stun guns to break up tribute fights, however it is not portrayed in the film or the book. Also, in Catching Fire Peacekeepers brutally beat and arrest Cinna with studded gloves and handcuffs. Twill steals a solar weapon from a dead Peacekeeper, however due to the fact that the majority of the Peacekeeper arsenal is made up of conventional ballistic weaponry, this solar weapon could possibly be a prototype.
The Peacekeepers utilize both Hovercraft and ground vehicles, like trains, to allow quick transport within and between districts. In Catching Fire, Romulus Thread and his peacekeeping force arrive in District 12 in a convoy of large armored vehicles, with Peacekeepers riding both inside and out. These vehicles are also seen on the victory tour with Katniss and Peeta being escorted to District 11's square in one.
Peacekeepers also pilot the Capitol's vast fleet of Hovercraft which are used for both transportation and combat. They are capable of carrying large payloads of bombs which can be deployed with devastating force against rebellious districts, often targeting residential areas, hospitals and factories to demoralize the civilian populations. Hovercrafts are also utilized by Peacekeepers in surveillance roles and to track down and apprehend fugitives attempting to escape Capitol jurisdiction.
Duties and Law Enforcement
Peacekeepers are tasked with maintaining law & order and punishing those who break Capitol law, or show defiance to its regime. Punishments normally consist of public whippings, and Peacekeepers are usually equipped with automatic weapons to further discourage social disobedience among the Districts.
The Peacekeepers' temperament and their relationships with civilians vary throughout the districts. They are strict and ruthless in large districts such as District 11, but in districts such as District 12, they bend the rules to satisfy their own stomachs. While all of the Peacekeepers' duties are very similar, in some districts the punishments differ; for example, during Catching Fire it is noted that various Peacekeepers from District 12 think that forty lashings for poaching is more than enough, while a District 11 Peacekeeper seems to think that forty is not enough. In District 11 the Peacekeepers do not hesitate to carry out on-the-spot executions for minor crimes. This maybe due to situational ethics, as District 12 peacekeepers are hungry, while District 11, not so much. The more lenient Peacekeepers of smaller, quieter districts, such as 12, are considered unwelcome but not as fervently hated as the brutally efficient oppressors of larger districts.
In The Hunger Games, Rue describes how a boy named Martin with a mental disorder tried to hide a pair of night vision glasses in his pants. He was killed on the spot by the Peacekeepers and Rue tells Katniss that he obviously wasn't dangerous and only wanted to play with them.
Catching FireIn Catching Fire, Bonnie and Twill disguise themselves as Peacekeepers, dressing in uniforms from the District 8 factories in an attempt to escape from Panem. They are discovered by Katniss. Despite Katniss' attempts to keep them alive, they do not make it to District 13 and are presumed dead, possibly discovered by Peacekeepers.
It is revealed that most of the Peacekeepers are originally from District 2 where they are trained for this kind of life. It was originally thought that the Peacekeepers came from the Capitol but it was a difficult transition for those used to such a lavish lifestyle to live in the impoverished districts. An exception would be considered if a Capitol citizen was deeply in debt and had no other means of recompense.
Simulated Peacekeepers are used in the District 13 training course.
- Peacekeepers must serve the state for 20 years without marriage or children, thus preventing them from having loyalties to anything other than Panem and the Capitol. This is another comparison to the Roman Empire and its military structure, of which Panem is a post-apocalyptic emulation.
- According to a report on Peacekeepers on Capitol TV, 87% of Peacekeepers are Male while only 13% are Female. This ratio is reflected in the fact that there are only three known female Peacekeepers, Purnia, another District 12 Peacekeeper and a District 11 Peacekeeper
- Though there are exceptions, like Cray, peacekeepers are very loyal to President Snow and Panem.
- The fact that most Peacekeepers are from District 2 and not the Capitol is similar to the late Roman army in that most soldiers were German "barbarians" and not Roman citizens.
- Early into President Snow's Propaganda Film, three men in white hazmat suits are shown. They may be peacekeepers, or predecessors of peacekeepers.
- It is possible that the government of Panem improved Peacekeepers after the 74th Hunger Games, explaining their change in appearance, but it is more likely that their change in appearance is just because of the director switch between the first movie and the other three.