Police asked to 'take it easy' before elections.

The French Police union, Unsa Police, is claiming that the interior ministry has ordered the police to 'take uit easy' in the suburbs in the run-up to the Presidential Elections in order to avoid any bavures policières*.

They are claiming that police have been told not to go into certain parts of Seine-Saint-Denis and Essonne. To avoid violence that might embarass the current interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, during his presidential campaign.

This throws into question Sarkozy's claims that his tough policy is making the streets safer. What isn't in doubt is that it is criminalising people. Across the 22 departments involved in the 'war on urban violence' the number of arrests for delinquency in January and February 2007 has increased by 80% (971-543) in relation to last year. The average number of units of CRS deployed in these departments over the same period has increased from 20 to 25.

The National Police Command has claimed that any such orders were given on a local level and that no such national orders have been given. A spokesman for the ministry also pointed out that the head of the Unsa Police union has spoken out in support of Ségolène Royal. The union, which displaced the pro-Sarkozy police union as the official police union is generally felt to have closer ties to the Socialist Party.

*bavure policière: a police slip-up, a euphemistic term used to describe a variety bad things done by the police, from mistakes made on duty to beating suspects to death.

Posted By

jef costello
Mar 27 2007 16:06


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