His hearing lasted more than two and a half hours. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin was heard at length by the deputies of the National Assembly’s Law Commission, Monday, November 30, after ten days marred by police violence and demonstrations against the proposed law “comprehensive security”. His hearing was aimed at taking stock “on the conditions under which the police have used force during various events in Paris since the demonstration of November 17, 2020”. If he denounced the “unspeakable acts” of certain police officers, he reaffirmed his support for the police and the Paris police chief, Didier Lallement.
It is necessary “give the police of the Republic, the national gendarmerie, the means to set an example that is required of them”, declared the minister during this hearing, before listing according to him the “seven capital sins” that weigh on the police. Review of his main statements.
“A vile video” and “unspeakable acts”
“Those who should be punished have nothing to do with the national police, did he react to the Michel Zecler affair. Unspeakable acts have been committed by those who wear the uniform of the Republic. ” Commenting on the images of the assault on this black music producer in the 17th arrondissement, which were posted online by Loopsider, Gérald Darmanin denounced “a despicable video”. At the beginning, “I thought they weren’t real policemen”, he admitted.
“I hope that we can continue to protect police officers and gendarmes in police operations and their personal lives, but the counterpart of this very strong support is my very strong request for an example with police officers”, he added.
No “divorce between the police and the population”
“I do not share the fact that there is a divorce between the police and its population, nevertheless estimated the Minister of the Interior. Peacekeepers are rarely the children of CEOs, they are the children of the working class, the popular, they come from the people. There is not on one side the police and on the other side the French population. “ According to Gérald Darmanin, “there is no need to reconnect, this thread has never been lost, but there is to understand the difficulties experienced by the police officers and also to understand how the population today wishes to exercise legitimate force “.
If he pointed “structural problems that do not date from yesterday”, he stressed that “individualities are not a whole”, warning that he “would not support that one undermines the institution of the police force and the gendarmerie”. To strengthen this link between the police and the population, the minister recommended increasing the number of police members of the “reserve” to 30,000, ie the same level as the reserve of the gendarmerie.
A problem of training, supervision and equipment
Gérald Darmanin nevertheless listed several problems. First capital sin in his eyes, “the little training we offer our police officers”. “A national police officer is 12 hours of annual training”, he said, pointing that the fact “Only 20% of police officers work these 12 hours per year in 2019”. To remedy “I proposed to the President of the Republic this afternoon” a “more important initial training”, specified the minister.
Second sin, according to him: “The fact that there are not enough chefs and sous-chefs”, that is to say non-commissioned officers. It is necessary “recreate a more numerous intermediary supervisory body with police officers and police officers and gendarmes in the field”, he argued.
Then come the problems of “equipment” and “images”, continued Gérald Darmanin, reaffirming the interest of pedestrian cameras, which will be generalized on July 1, as he had announced.
IGPN not “as bad” as some say
Among the seven deadly sins, also figure “the question of inspections”. There is “a lot of debates around the IGPN”, underlined Gérald Darmanin. Recognizing the difficulties associated with the double hat of the “police force”, which is “both an inspection service under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior and a judicial investigation service”, the Minister raised the fact that “if the IGPN were that bad” as some say, “the public prosecutor would not have seized it” of the investigation into the violence of which Michel Zecler was victim.
The Minister indicated that he was not “favorable” a transformation of the IGPN into an independent administrative authority: “We know her: she is called the Defender of Rights.” “If reform” IGPN there is to do, he continued, it would be necessary that his “recommendations” in matters of administrative sanctions are followed up.
“Prefect Lallement has all my confidence”
Questioned by several deputies on the responsibility of the Paris police chief in the police slippages, and responding to calls for his resignation, Gérald Darmanin reiterated his support. “Prefect Lallement has all my confidence, said the minister. Prefect Lallement has a boss, he is the Minister of the Interior. I have neither love nor hate for Prefect Lallement (…) he is a hard-working civil servant, who has never lied to me, who heads one of the most difficult posts in France. “
“And I have noticed since taking office that he does not fail in his duties”, added the tenant of Place Beauvau, considering that Didier Lallement ““did not make a bad structural decision” during the dismantling of the migrant camp on Place de la République on Monday 23 and during the March for Freedoms on Saturday 28 November.
The protection of the police and that of the freedom of the press “are not in competition”
Regarding the very controversial article 24 of the proposed law “Comprehensive security”, which restricts the freedom to film the police and which must be rewritten by the majority, the Minister of the Interior hammered: “LThe police are not sufficiently protected, I have not changed my conviction “. According to him, “the protection of the police and the protection of the freedom of the press are not in competition, they are complementary”.