” We must put the role of management back into our operation. If no one is responsible for anything, then it’s a mess. “ This scathing observation was drawn up by the first cop in France, Gérald Darmanin, during a trip to the police in Savoy on February 15. The Minister of the Interior commented on the images of the beating of producer Michel Zecler by police officers on November 21, 2020 in Paris. The crew then consisted of a brigadier and two peacekeepers, officials at the lowest ranks of the police pyramid.
After the link between the police and the population, the Beauvau security actors, a major consultation on the police and the gendarmerie, are debating this Monday February 22 on the issue of supervision. In November, the minister indicated his desire to “Recreate an intermediary management body in the field”.
In fact, more than fifteen years after the 2004 reform on “Corps and careers”, the number of officers – civil servants belonging to the intermediate body, between that of the commissioners and that of the peacekeepers – has plummeted by almost 50%: from 15,000 in 2004, according to the Court of Auditors, it reached less than 8,000 at the end of 2018, according to an internal document that The cross was able to consult. At the same time, supervisory functions were conferred on the officers (brigadiers-chiefs, majors) of the lower corps.
A chosen restructuring, which aimed to “To upgrade officers and commissioners” and delegate to the officers “Part of the responsibilities”, deciphers Mathieu Zagrodzki, associate researcher at Cesdip, the sociological research center on law and penal institutions. “There was also a budgetary ulterior motive, he adds. Reducing the number of officers represents salary savings. “
For a peacekeeper to access a supervisory role, “You need a little seniority and exams”, explains Christophe Rouget, secretary general of the SCSI, the main officers’ union. Exams “Which are not necessarily linked to the role of management and command on the public highway”, regrets the trade unionist, who believes that the police have “Not able to manage this transition”. These problems are accentuated in the Paris region, where more than three quarters of the police officers leaving school are affected and where the “turnover” is particularly high. If the supervision rate is today 25% among the agents of the ” public security “ at the national level, according to the police, it was 17% in 2018 at the local security direction of the Paris police headquarters (which fights against petty and medium delinquency), noted the Court of Auditors in a report in 2019, depicting a “Worrying sub-supervision”.
As a result, according to researcher Mathieu Zagrodzki, it is possible to meet patrols in which the team leader is a simple peacekeeper. “While in the mid-2000s there were sometimes officers as captains, he adds. Since they do not belong to the same corps as the guards, they have less trouble passing instructions and putting someone back in line. There is a link of authority, they are seen by the agents. While a guard talks to a sergeant. “
In addition to strengthening training, trade unionist Christophe Rouget therefore pleads for a better distribution of forces on the territory: “Being with experienced agents allows you to learn judgment and avoid individual mistakes. “