Macron wants more transparency about police wrongdoings

·2-min read
France Security (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
France Security (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday announced measures to make the police more transparent about wrongdoings, including the publication of internal investigation reports and the creation of a parliamentary monitoring body.

Macron's speech in a police school in Roubaix, in northern France, comes after a monthslong national consultation about needed changes to the police, following allegations of violence and racism.

“When there are misconducts, they must lead to sanctions. When there are problems, they must get a response," Macron said. “We have nothing to fear from a greater transparency.”

Macron said international investigation reports about allegations of police abuse and misconduct will now be made public. They must lead to “clear decisions” about officers and organization issues, he added.

In addition, a new body composed of lawmakers from the National Assembly and the Senate will be in charge of assessing police actions, Macron said. A similar body exists for intelligence services.

In his speech, Macron also sought to respond to demands from police unions for action in areas including improving the training of officers, reducing the amount of paperwork and increasing their presence on the ground.

He said the budget of the Interior Ministry which is supervising the police, will improve next year by 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion).

The national consultation on police was notably prompted by the publication at the end of last year of videos showing a Black man beaten up by several police officers, using a truncheon and tear gas for no apparent reason.

At the time, Macron said he felt “ashamed” and “shocked” by the violent beating of music producer Michel Zecler, although he denied that racism or violence were systemic in the force. A judicial investigation has been opened into police actions in that case.

The French government in February launched an online tool to enable people to identify and denounce all kinds of discrimination issues.

Macron stressed that only 4% of the reports concern police forces so far and they had led to internal investigations.

Macron’s speech also comes after a security law extending police powers entered into force earlier this year despite weeks of protests called by civil right activists who feared it would threaten efforts to denounce abuses.

Last year, thousands of French people took part in the global Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Amnesty International on Tuesday released a report denouncing the disproportionate use of force by police using tear gas and dispersion grenades to end a party gathering about 1,500 people in Redon, in western France, in June.

The violent operation led to one young man getting his hand torn off. Several other people were injured, Amnesty said there were “serious issues regarding human rights.”

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