October 17, 2006

France: With attacks on the rise, Police call for tougher action against ghetto youth

A year after riots in France's suburbs sent shockwaves across the country, the national police union is complaining of continued and mounting violence. It is calling for tougher disciplinary measures and has aired its grievances to the national police chief. According to police statistics, the situation is not improving. Aggressive acts against officers leapt from 3842 in 2004 to 4246 in 2005. In the first six months of this year alone there have been nearly 2500 such acts of violence.

Police fear a rise in tension as the 2007 presidential election approaches. They say youths are bent on violence and are determined to attract media attention as they did in the riots of Autumn 2005.

The unions are calling for reinforcements in the most difficult policing zones. They also think punishment is often too lenient and are demanding harsher penalties for delinquents.

France's interior minister has taken the situation to heart. According to Nicolas Sarkozy, who has his eyes set on the presidency, the justice system needs to respond more firmly in the troubled suburbs.

Whether France chooses to vote for the left or right in 2007, one thing is for sure, cracking down on crime is going to be central to the presidential election campaign.


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