A reform of the French police force is generating big criticism and crystallizing the anger of French police officers. Even going as far as demonstrations of force never before seen in this milieu.
What exactly is going on in France?
Who are the protagonists of this affair ?
There are many. First of all, at the top of the hierarchy is the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin. Just below him is Frederic Veaux, the Director General of the National Police. And finally there are all the men on the ground, manpower of the judicial police.
What did Gérald Darmanin do as Minister of the Interior?
Gérald Darmanin proposes a reform of the judicial police. Indeed, in France, the police is composed of several services: intelligence, public security, judicial police and customs or border police. The new reform plans to place all these services under the authority of the Departmental Director of the National Police (DDPN), who himself is under the authority of the prefect.
What did Frederic Veaux do?
The big boss of the National Police visited on Thursday, October 6, 2022 the premises of the police in Marseille to present the reform. In doing so, he was welcomed by the boss of the Judicial Police of Marseille, Eric Arella, who led him into the premises where all the police officers were waiting for him, silent and with their arms crossed as a sign of protest against the reform.
Following this, Frederic Veaux sacked the director of the Judicial Police of Marseille.
What did Eric Arella do?
Eric Arella is suspected of staging the reception of his boss Frederic Veaux. On a video you can see on social networks, he can be heard asking his men to cross their arms as he precedes Frederic Veaux into the Marseilles police station.
What did the police do as a result?
First the Marseilles police officers gave Eric Arella a hurrah after giving Frederic Veaux a sign of dishonor. But the discontent went far beyond the Marseilles region and from Friday, October 7, all over France, police officers demonstrated in protest against the dismissal of Eric Arella.
The method is indeed very brutal and this dismissal has shocked the French judicial community, both among police officers and magistrates.
Is this police reform dangerous?
If one is to believe the police officers who are speaking out on the subject, yes. Indeed, to date public safety police departments are overwhelmed with complaints and struggle to solve cases. They are asked to adopt a policy of numbers in order to manipulate statistics. Thus, some cases are closed in order to lower the delinquency figure, some complaints are not taken and police officers focus on small offenses that will allow them to have good numbers.
In contrast, the judicial police conduct long-term investigations into complex cases, mostly criminal or involving drug trafficking. Police officers fear that this reform will reduce their scope of action as well as their means and that they will be relegated to tasks involving petty crime, leaving them no longer able to carry out large-scale investigations against serious crime.
A police officer also says in this video, “if this reform passes, tomorrow the country will be overrun by the cartels.” Which is a most disturbing statement.
So what will become of the French police? The future will tell us…