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Burglaries, violence … in Brittany, nearly 65,000 untreated complaints [Enquête] – Why 65,000 complaints are not processed in Brittany

Vandals on a car, a warped hood, a smashed windshield, and a crinkled roof. The policewoman who takes the complaint remains impassive. A little earlier, the call to the police station, while the alleged perpetrators rushed into their vehicle, had received this response: “It is useless for us to intervene, they will probably already be far away”.

Overwhelmed Investigators

At the police station, the official came out to quickly inspect the car. Fingerprints on the hood and roof? The jaded official shakes her head. “There will be no scientific police for that. The damage is not significant enough, ”she breathes. The amount of repairs will fall a few days later: more than 6,000 euros.

The facts date back to June 2016. Despite almost all of the registration, make, model and color of the vehicle of the alleged perpetrators, the author of these lines has never received any news of his complaint. This file joined for a time the hundreds of thousands of others pending in French police stations. Last June, the police estimated this stock at “more than 1.5 million”, or nearly 104 files per investigator! “At the very least, one year of work per investigator just to deal with these delays…”, calculates a regular in these procedures. But the differences between territories can be very significant. It also depends on the services. “Unfortunately, we see that the securities (Editor’s note: local or departmental investigation services), which deal with everyday crime, are much more impacted” This is what an investigator from a Breton department told us, who quoted us, last November, the figure of “300 to 350 files, and even more”.

“Prosecutors and investigators pass the buck”

This ball encysts the activity of all the investigation services and weighs down a little more also the slowness of Justice. What to do ? An interministerial dispatch (Interior and Justice) dating from May 2021 did try to lighten this burden, by inviting the prosecutors to go and decide the fate of these procedures directly in the police stations. A practice already observed, in certain departments since 2015, according to our information.

Objective: to classify without follow-up the oldest, simplest and least serious cases that have not given rise to any act of investigation. “These cases of complaints not followed up by investigation can sometimes, unfortunately, relate to serious facts, testifies a magistrate, who reports the case of a file of abuse inflicted by a carer on residents of a retirement home. “The family had no news for 18 months. The file was under a pile of complaints in the police station. There had been no investigation…” The file was exhumed, and the investigation could finally be launched. On time ? “Me and all my colleagues have heaps of files of which we have no news, sometimes for serious cases”, assures a Breton lawyer. Whose fault is it ? The penalist shrugs his shoulders: “Prosecutors and investigators pass the buck”.

Rankings without continuation by tens

In Brittany, according to our information, all the prosecutor’s offices (except the smallest of them, Saint-Malo (35)) practice “shedding”. Their frequency? Once a year ? “Once a month or every two months”, replies bluntly the Attorney General of the Court of Appeal of Rennes, Frédéric Benet-Chamberlan. Their number? “We can think that it amounts to a few dozen procedures each time”, gauges the senior magistrate.

The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal of Rennes, second in France in population (not in crime), has “only” nearly 65,000 outstanding complaints (i.e. 4.3% of the national stock). But for the Attorney General, the account is not there. “We realize that the stocks are being rebuilt…”, he laments. What to do ? Classify everything to start again on a sound basis? “Unthinkable! “, decides the high magistrate.

Measures have been announced: simplification of criminal procedure, creation of 11,400 investigator and investigation assistant positions by 2027… Enough? These announcements did not provoke any surge of optimism among our interlocutors.

letelegramme Fr Trans

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