Macron's Battle With the Police: How the French President Is Trying to Win Over France's Police Force
President Macron vows to transform the French police force after two cases of excessive brutality.
According to a spokesman at the Elysee Palace, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to "transform" the French police force after two more officers were accused of using excessive brutality following the death of a young black man in police custody. The president pledged to increase oversight of law enforcement and to create a new national guard dedicated to fighting extremism. He also wants greater diversity among the ranks by 2023.
Macron's Battle With the Police Force
Previously, France's annual police brutality statistics had shown a slight drop in reports of violent incidents against officers. But the details of those statistics released in early 2018 raised more questions. France's national police service tallied 10,039 reports of excessive force in 2016, a 50 percent decrease from the year before. But violence against officers increased over the same period by 12 percent, to about 11,000 reports, according to the latest statistics. Related: For more news videos visit Yahoo View. It's a troubling trend. During the last week of July, five officers were injured when a police vehicle crashed into a group of officers while they were clearing streets of demonstrators.
What The President Is Fighting For
Macron's fight for a stronger police force has a bit of a twist. Earlier this week, the president promised to invest more than 200 million euros ($237 million) on a national police force. This new security force would include a national guard unit of 3,000 active officers and another 5,000 reserve officers. This will come as little surprise to the French public. In July, Macron pledged to double France's number of police officers by the end of 2019, with a new force to combat terrorism and a new police academy to train 3,500 recruits by 2021. It was a rare move in the public eye as the president rarely lends his face to the need for more policing.
How Macron's Plans Will Help France
Macron's proposals could help the country avoid what Germany saw in 2015 when six police officers were charged with murdering a schizophrenic man. The new body would have powers to intervene during anti-social behavior and operations and share information among police forces. The new force would patrol sensitive areas and provide support to anti-terrorist units. Budgetary Measures Will Help France Macron is also offering some of the police's budget to the new National Guard. The measure, a one-time budget of 20 million euros ($24 million), would help equip and train new officers. The project is part of a plan to boost law enforcement spending to 30 billion euros over five years from 18 billion euros in 2017.
It would be highly surprising if the French police force works better under Macron than under his predecessor François Hollande. He has said that he doesn't want to dismantle the police. Instead he will try to reform it. Some members of the public supported his call to revive the national guard, fearing that the police has gone too far. However, there is no doubt that police reform is a fraught undertaking in France. If Macron's policy turns out to be successful, this could pave the way for other leaders in Europe to also undertake similar reforms. This article was produced by Freedom House as part of the 2018 Freedom in the World News Report.