Just two days before the first round of French legislative elections, President Emmanuel Macron said he would reform and strengthen the police on Thursday (June 9) following heightened scrutiny of a series of botched operations. EURACTIV France reports.
Violence at the Stade de France after the Champions League final, the murder of a man during a police check in April, and a young woman who was shot by a stray bullet during an arrest on Saturday June 4 are just a few -some of the recent incidents that call French police into question.
Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin tried to defend the doctrine of law and order of government. Yet, while the left accused the police of using force disproportionately, the right questioned the laxity of the executive.
far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon who questioned the evolution of the use of force by the police under Macron, even declared that “the police kill”.
The subject becoming incendiary, Macron decided, like the members of his presidential majority and the right, to show his support for the police.
While traveling in the Tarn department, the president paid tribute to the “security forces who protect us” and praised their “professionalism, their exemplarity and their ethics”.
“There are things I cannot accept. It is that we insult those who risk their lives to protect ours,” Macron said in an implied jab at Mélenchon. “For a nation to be united […]we absolutely must defend our gendarmes and our police officers,” he continued.
To support the police and the gendarmerie, Macron announced that he wanted to “strengthen the means of action over the next five years” with the deployment of 200 gendarmerie brigades across the country and the doubling of the number of reservists.
The executive is also considering organizational reforms, recruitment and new equipment to ensure “less paperwork” and allow the police to be more present on the ground to “prevent and act” against delinquency.
The French president also said the goal is to “double the presence of our law enforcement on public roads by the end of the decade”, the French president also said.
Following Macron’s comments, Mélenchon insisted that “nobody insulted the police”demanding that he wants to “expose a policing doctrine that has led to violence”.
Macron nevertheless seems to want to ease tensions and to have recognized the concerns raised by part of the population following recent incidents, as recalled by “the requirement to respect the rules of ethics and engagement”.
However, two days before the first round of legislative elections, Mélenchon says he thinks Macron’s comments and attacks on him reflect a certain “unrest” due to him and the president currently neck and neck in the polls.
[Edited by Alice Taylor]