Europe

French premier announces measures to address attacks on police

Measures announced in response to repeated attacks on and killings of police staff

Shweta Desai   | 12.05.2021
French premier announces measures to address attacks on police ( Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency )

PARIS

Violence against police officers and gendarmerie will invite harsher punishments, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Tuesday as he announced a series of measures to ensure rapid justice for security forces who are attacked on duty. 

Castex announced the measures following a meeting with police unions in the wake of the killings of police officials in Avignon on May 5 and Rambouillet on April 23. He said he made concrete commitments “to better protect those who protect us.”

The measures include limitation of sentence reductions for offenses committed against police officers, increasing the safety period to 30 years for those serving life imprisonment before they are eligible for parole and harsher penalties (currently punished by one year in jail and a 7,500 euro fine) against those who refuse to comply with police orders, including violence against internal security forces as a specific offense, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office noted.

The public prosecutor's office will also be asked to ensure the delivery of rapid judgement and to designate a referent for improving the penal response in cases of attacks against the police. These measurements will be made part of a bill and submitted in Parliament in the coming weeks.

Castex also announced a 10 million euro fund to strengthen the security of police stations to avert attacks against the staff of the national police. Repeated attacks and killings like in Avignon and Rambouillet have angered security personnel, who feel there is leniency in the laws and government response, making police officers an easy target.

The Alliance-Police Nationale Union, one of the main police unions, had mixed reactions to the prime minister’s announcement. But it welcomed the government’s awareness on the need for a stronger criminal response against attacks on security forces, said a report from BFMTV.

The Syndicat de la Magistrature, a magistrates union, in a press statement called the government's announcements “hot air.”

“They do not constitute a possible response to the real disarray of the police, which is mainly due to degraded conditions in which they occur,” it said, recalling that most of the measures by Castex already exist under the current provisions of the law.

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