Over 3000 Police Officers Disciplined in 2009
Tuesday 17 August 2010
Over 3000 French police officers were disciplined for misconduct last year, including 10 local police commanders.
The figure comes from the latest statistics of the 'police of police', the Inspection générale de la Police nationale (IGPN).
According to their figures, the level of disciplinary action in 2009 was a decrease of 9.17 % compared to 2008, a reduction that the inspectorate claims is mostly due to the severity of the punishments that are given for misconduct.
Although the vast majority the disciplinary actions consisted of a formal warning, over 100 police offers were sacked or compulsory retired.
In addition, around 300 police officers were temporarily suspended from duty, for reasons that included ‘a lack of sincerity in the drafting of minutes of investigation.’
Disciplinary action also occurred at all levels of the police force, including 10 of the 1,772 commissaires who run a local force, as well as 129 police inspectors.
The offences committed ranged from theft, pirating files, unlawful violence, drug abuse and drunkenness.
There was also disciplinary action against officers who got into difficulties in their personal life, including debt.
The release of the figures has been criticised by the police themselves, which they consider to be insulting and likely to impair the respect of the public to their profession.
Clearly, although the figures may be embarrassing to the police, some perspective is needed upon them. There are 120,000 police officers in France, which means that 2.59% of officers were disciplined, a figure which includes 130 administrative staff.
No figures are available for the disciplinary offences committed by gendarmes, the quasi military police force of 105, 000 officers that is responsible for policing in rural areas.
However, the vast majority of crime is dealt with by the national police force, and most of the disciplinary offences reported by the IGPN relate to police officers in Paris and the Ile de France.
Critics suggest that one of the reasons why this may be the case is that most of the police officers in the Paris region who are recruited from outside of the capital are under 30 years of age and lack the experience to deal with the crimes and disturbances with which they are faced, often leading to inappropriate conduct.