Thursday, December 22, 2016

Police : a law to reform the use of firearms – The World

The government will present on Wednesday, in the council of ministers a draft law to reform the rules of opening fire.

World | • updated | By

The great evils, great remedies. Hit by a series of attacks, the end of the quinquennium of Francois Hollande has also been marked by a considerable strengthening of the means available to forces of the order. Wednesday, December 21st, the interior minister, Bruno Le Roux, had to bring a new stone to the building with the council of ministers an evolution of additional rules of use of weapons.

After featuring in 2016, the brigades tasked with fighting crime (BAC) and their equivalent in force to assault rifles HK G36, a weapon of war, until then reserved for the elite units, the government had already, with the act of June 3, 2016, expanded the possibilities of use of firearms to situations of ” journey murderer “, that is to say, in the case where terrorists from committing a terrorist attack are on the loose and likely to kill again. The text thus allows to bypass the principle of immediate response, who chairs normally at the opening of the fire.

through the project of law of public security, presented on Wednesday, the government intends to align the plan of the officers on the constables. This time, it is not the terrorist threat that has guided government action, but the movement of growling that has gone through the ranks of the police after the violent assault of four servants, October 8, at Viry-Châtillon (Essonne), in the middle of Molotov cocktails.

Read also : hundreds of police show in Viry-Châtillon

Currently, the use of weapons in the police is governed by self-defence, in the image of any citizen. The bill provides that the police can now, like policemen, open fire in four situations which are determined, after summations : in the face of the threat of armed individuals ; when they can’t defend otherwise the land they occupy or the people that are entrusted to them ; when a person tries to escape their custody and that they can’t stop it otherwise ; when they can’t stop otherwise a vehicle in flight.

” Fifteen years of combat “

on the side of The unions, it’s a request for harmonization, which leads finally : ” Fifteen years of struggle have been necessary for that pragmatism and reason outweigh the conservatismes “, responded on Tuesday, in a press release, the union of the officers of the internal security. ” It is an extension of the conditions of opening of fire, wants to believe Patrice Ribeiro, general secretary of the union Synergie officers. the In the spirit of the police, he had to wait to get shot to return fire. In the future, when for example someone does not drop his weapon, we may open fire after warnings. “

The new regime, if adopted by Parliament, will, however, be conditioned to the respect of the principles of” absolute necessity “ and ” strict proportionality “, as required by the european Convention on human rights and its article 2, which enshrines the right to life. This, in fact, that some observers that the future change is primarily cosmetic, the above conditions become closer and closer, de facto, the framework of self-defence (which requires a response on a simultaneous, necessary and proportionate).

Read also : After the case of Magnanville, weapon-carrying, out-of-service sustainability

Olivier Cahn, a researcher at the Centre for sociological research on law and penal institutions, fears that ” the police believe that the rules change so that in practice this is not the case “. He recalls, for example, the case of a man shot dead by a policeman in 2008, in Brignoles (Var) :

” An assize court acquitted the gendarme who had shot at the man handcuffed and on the run. He had summons to appear in court. But this is not enough and, in the present case, the european Court of human rights considered that it was not in a situation of absolute necessity and has condemned France in 2014. “

Asked by The World, the interior minister, Bruno Le Roux, defending, for its part, a ” progress in the field of unification of rules, “. But he points out that ” the government has not the will to liberalise the procedures for opening fire “. The draft law on public safety has two other provisions. The identity of the police officers on the acts of procedure (minutes, reports…) or testimony as a witness may be replaced by their identification number, if there is a danger for them. This responds to a request of protection expressed with force since the murder of a couple of officials from the ministry of the interior, June 13, at Magnanville (Yvelines). Finally, the penalty in case of contempt against a person agent of the public authority will be doubled and increased up to a year in prison, as is the case for contempt of court. Again, it is for the government to reassure the police officers.

Read also : “The beat officers are demotivated and demoralized”

At the nightly gatherings held in the past few months, the police have denounced a form of ” two weights, two measures “, considering that the offenders were of the laxity of the criminal justice system, when they would, a contrario, severely judged. The reality shows that this feeling is in large part fantasy. The report of the national Institute of higher studies of security and justice attest to this. Commissioned by the government on 28 October, in the framework of the dissatisfaction in the police, it confirms that the violence against security forces have increased by 16.1% between 2011 and 2015. But he also makes the finding of a judicial response to ” appropriate “, with a rate of response of 96 %, or 13 points higher than for persons not vested with public authority.

” increased Severity “

” The criminal treatment reserved to these cases during the last three years is also marked by an increased severity “, the report says that The World consulted. The sentences are, ” in more than 75 % of the cases, sentences of imprisonment, with or without the suspension, even when the police officer or constable is not subject to any incapacity for work “.

with Regard to the treatment of the officers who employ force, the report notes a ” the rate of prosecution is very residual and convictions are quite exceptional “. Thus, about 59 cases of use of deadly weapon identified between 2011 and 2016 (including 9 relating to acts of a terrorist nature), ” only two have been the subject of a referral to a criminal court. For one, an acquittal has been pronounced and the other is awaiting trial “.

furthermore, The report notes the finding of a ” relative stability in the use of firearms “ over the years. We décomptait, to October 31, 199 shooting of firearms in the police and 62 ” operational situations “ within the gendarmerie (which may include several shots). A stability that can be explained in part by the increasing use of so-called weapons of force intermediary, such as the gun’s electrical impulse or the ball launcher of defence (such as the Flash-Ball), and that the government has to relax, at the end of November, the employment rules, by increasing the period of validity of the clearance of two to three years.

also Read : police in France, between progress and big bugs


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