Led by a Head Peacekeeper who is the commander of the district's respective garrison, they are the primary instrument of control and repression in Panem. Their duties consist of arresting political dissidents, rebels, and other lawbreakers. Peacekeepers form the bulk of both law enforcement and the military of the Capitol as they serve as foot soldiers, guards and hovercraft pilots. For the film series, Peacekeeper costumes cost an estimated $80,000.00 to make for each complete costume without guns & holster.
In 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 Peacekeeper garb is white, but it can be deduced that it reflects upon President Snow's appearance and perfectionist idealism it stems from. 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 usually recruited from both the Capitol itself and from the loyal District 2, though people from other districts can serve as Peacekeepers as well. Those from the districts 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 honour or glory. Others join for other incentives, such as having their debts absolved 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.
As a rule, any Peacekeeper recruited from one of the districts was assigned to district other than that which they had come from.
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.
- Romulus Thread
- Coriolanus Snow
- Sejanus Plinth
- Commander Hoff
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 otherwise.
In District 11, the Peacekeepers are known to carry out on-the-spot executions for minor crimes, and public whippings and executions are extremely common. Up until the arrival of Romulus Thread, public whippings and the death penalty were rarely used. The differences between District 11 and District 12 peacekeepers may be down to situational ethics, as District 12 peacekeepers are hungry, while the same does not hold true for District 11. The comparatively lenient Peacekeepers of smaller, quieter districts, such as 12, are considered unwelcome but not as fervently hated as the more brutal oppressors of larger districts. The nature of the Peacekeepers within District 12 also seemed to change over time. Around the time of the 10th Hunger Games, they seemed relatively well-fed and also carried out at least two public executions in a relatively short timespan. In addition, Haymitch mentions that prior to the arrival of Cray as Head Peacekeeper of District 12, public whippings were a regular occurrence, although they were rare under Cray. In Catching Fire, Cray mysteriously disappears (likely arrested and executed by the Capitol) and is replaced by the brutal Romulus Thread, who resumes carrying out public whippings and executions on a regular basis. It is likely that Peacekeeper behavior and rules of conduct evolved over time. In the first decade or two after the First Rebellion it can be assumed that executions and other harsh punishments were regular in all Districts due to lingering immediate resentment by Rebel veterans who managed to avoid prosecution and their families. As the Capitol reestablished social control and as former rebellion veterans simply grew too old or disillusioned, favored districts like 1 and 2 and relatively backwater Districts like 12 likely needed less and less harsh punishments to keep order, but extreme measures did not go away completely in large but unfavored districts, of which 11 is a perfect example. However, even in calmer districts, acts taken directly against Peacekeepers were still extremely harsh punished due to being direct insults against the Capitol. This demonstrates a distinction between benign tolerance of gray and black markets and acts that can be viewed as political agitation, even unintentionally.
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. As the night vision equipment was presumably Peacekeeper or civilian Capitol property temporarily handed out to workers, the act was likely seen as a direct defiance of the capitol and combined with the fact that 11 is already under harsh measures as a matter of course lead to the direct execution without trial of a minor.
Officers were a special class of Peacekeeper which commanded other Peacekeepers. Groups of Peacekeepers each had a presiding officer who was responsible for their conduct. They received greater privileges and had a chance to distinguish themselves in a way that ordinary Peacekeepers did not. Any Peacekeeper wishing to become an officer had to take the officer candidate test, which was considered quite challenging. One was required to have graduated from a secondary school, such as the Academy, in order to even be allowed to take the test. The test was mainly designed to measure scholastic aptitude and consisted primarily of verbal, math and spatial problems, though it also contained a military section involving basic rules and regulations. Most Peacekeepers were barely literate and stood no chance of passing it. Those who did pass it were not guaranteed to become officers, but were allowed to begin training. Coriolanus Snow was one such individual who not only took the test, but passed with flying colors, becoming the youngest person ever to pass the test. While normally a Peacekeeper would begin training immediately in the District that they were assigned to, Snow's scores were so high that he was recommended to an elite program in District 2. However, before, he even got there, he was diverted back to the Capitol, where he was enrolled in University and as an apprentice gamemaker under Dr. Volumnia Gaul.
In Catching Fire, Bonnie and Twill disguise themselves as Peacekeepers, dressing in uniforms from the District 8 factories in an attempt to escape from District 8 and flee to District 13. 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.
In Mockingjay, the Peacekeepers are the primary foes that the rebels encounter in battle, throughout the various districts and the Capitol itself. During the war, the Capitol deploys the full might of its military force, including its use of bombs and air support for its foot soldiers.
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.
After the Battle of the Capitol and its takeover by the rebels, the Peacekeeping Forces are disbanded, and large numbers of them were captured, tried, and imprisoned or executed by the new government. Following the formation of the constitutional republic, a new military force is presumably formed, probably separate from a police force as two separate entities to prevent abuse of power.
- 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, most 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 popular misconception that late Roman army soldiers were German "barbarians" and not Roman citizens. Recent scholarship from noted historians like Elton, Jones, Cowan and many others has debunked this myth, proving that only about 22% of "Late" Roman troops were "barbarians." However, it is true that few Roman soldiers were actually born in Italy.
- Early into President Snow's Propaganda Film, three men in white hazmat suits are shown. They may be Peacekeepers, or predecessors of Peacekeepers as Panem's early military force.
- 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. Alternatively, the government simply supplied already present combat gear to contain the situation that had been growing volatile.
- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes introduces far more individual Peacekeepers by name than an any other entry in The Hunger Games franchise, providing a behind-the-scenes look at how the Peacekeepers operate.
- It is stated that the Peacekeepers are far weaker than the modern US army, despite their technological sophistication since the Peacekeepers are not meant to fight wars, acting as a police force that had gendarmerie and moderate combat capability as opposed to a full military.