Present at the Beauvau of security to debate with the main police unions during a round table on the relationship between the police and the justice system, the Minister of Justice returned blow for blow.
Police anger rose crescendo, with the last two police assassinations in Rambouillet and Avignon which brought mourning to the institution, before erupting during the inter-union police rally in front of the National Assembly in Paris on May 19. A demonstration during which we heard controversial statements from certain trade unionists, such as this much commented sentence by Alliance general secretary Fabien Vanhemelryck: “The problem of the police is justice.”
The reopening of the Beauvau de la sécurité on May 27, in the presence of Eric Dupond-Moretti and with a theme modified for the occasion (“Relations with the judicial authority”), therefore took on a boxing match with a round table as a ring, a thousand leagues from a cordial discussion, like what had taken place during previous round tables.
The duel took place and the Minister of Justice demonstrated all his oratorical talent to respond foot to foot to the demands of the trade unionists in front of the Beauvau security cameras, the content of which was broadcast live on social networks.
From his introductory remarks, the Minister of Justice stressed that he was there to debate, while announcing the framework of the debate according to him: “The uncrossable red line for me is the questioning of the Republic.”
He made no secret of what he meant by that by shooting two arrows: his first aimed at the skit organized by the unions at the rally on May 19, during which he was shown an allegory of justice sweeping away a crime scene. A staging that he described as “unworthy”.
The minister’s other line was intended for the secretary general of an officers’ union who allegedly questioned the legitimacy of the European Court of Human Rights during a meeting between ministers and representatives of police personnel in Matignon.
From a union source, Eric Dupond-Moretti had already burned down the unionist on the same day … but he repeated his words publicly, specifying that the criticism had “not pleased him at all”.
“If we dezinge the institutions, we dezinge the Republic”, ton Dupond-Moretti
The Minister continued his remarks by adding: “We are here in a Republican meeting”. Before emphasizing: “Freedom of association is not total, it is essential, it is important, but not to the detriment of the Republic, it is our common good. If we unzinc institutions, we unzinc the Republic. ”
Also during these introductory remarks, which will ultimately last several hours, the general secretaries of the unions referred to figures, argued that justice was too lenient for their liking and demanded the withdrawal of the amendment to the Justice bill. carried by the government which introduces the possibility for a lawyer to be present during a search, except in cases of organized crime, terrorism or drug trafficking.
Goguenard, the minister replied that he was prepared to talk about figures by assuring: “You are right, we must be precise.” According to the minister’s figures, offenders go to prison more than before, with 132,000 prison sentences in 2019 against 120,000 in 2015. And the secretary general of Alliance replied: “Do you find normal? that one goes on average in prison for 5.8 months when one assaults a representative of the police force whereas one risks three years of firm prison? “
The minister then recalled that according to certain studies, detention for small sentences can also prove to be criminogenic and that it is important for the general interest that the offender emerges “less worse, better” than when he entered prison. .
And to summarize: “Everything cannot be settled by the jail […] If it were enough to incarcerate, we would have done so for centuries … You are in the union demand, that’s quite normal, but I am Keeper of the Seals, I must ensure the balance for our society. “
From lawyer of assizes to minister of combat
The minister fought head to head to defend his positions. In order to justify the amendment to the Justice bill allowing the presence of the search lawyer, Eric Dupond-Moretti took refuge behind the reality of the parliamentary debate (it is actually an amendment from the ranks of France rebellious which was reworked in committee with the majority before being voted).
When the trade unionists attacked the supposed judicial clemency, the Minister of Justice recalled that in an assize court, it is the French people who express themselves and that in all cases, the judge remains sovereign and independent.
In this dialogue of the deaf between the police officers and the minister, and faced with the irony of the secretary general of Unit-SGP, Eric Dupond-Moretti then launched to his opponents: “Suffer that I answer you!”, Before quoting Blaise Pascal: “I want to repeat here that force without justice is tyranny and justice without force is nothing.” But the Minister of Justice assured that “the time is not in blah” and that “it is necessary to look at the attacks on the life of the police as a separatism”.
Rather than a minimum sentence during any attack against the police and the gendarmes (counterproductive and impossible to implement according to him), Eric Dupond-Moretti recalled that the Observatory of the penal response would be set up in July . The unions had also made it a prerequisite before any participation in Beauvau in December.
The minister then drew an anecdote that he had already used during a meeting with these same elected police officers at the Elysee Palace in October 2020: when he was a lawyer in Lille, he had defended the national police officers of Tourcoing involved in the death of a man during an arraignment. “I have often defended the police,” he assured.
However, he did not mention the exchange he had with these police officers who came to his office to ask him to defend them at the time. An anecdote reported to RT France by a police source and which says a lot about the difficult relationship between the minister and the police. To this request, he would then first of all retorted: “I do not defend the cops.” As the disappointed officials turned on their heels in the direction of the door, he allegedly said to them, “But you can always try to convince me”, before taking their case.
Darmanin in withdrawal and more sincerity in the exchanges
The Minister of the Interior, for his part, was particularly discreet during these exchanges, which mainly featured the SICP, Alliance, SGP Unit and Unsa-Police unions facing the Minister of Justice. But the skirmishes remained within the limits of decorum, because the exchange was scrutinized by the Beauvau public of security.
This withdrawn position of Gérald Darmanin may have precisely allowed this Beauvau round table on security to finally become more relevant from the point of view of the general interest.
The previous round tables had followed a purring rhythm of congratulations for the police and union complaints without real opposition.
However, since the beginning of Beauvau de la sécurité, several union groups have pleaded for the presence of civil society (apart from the few elected representatives present) and of the judiciary unions in order to allow a more nourished exchange between the police world and the population.
In conclusion of these exchanges, Eric Dupond-Moretti spoke of the pleasure he had to exchange with these police officers, whom he has never received at his ministry, while ensuring that the door of the chancellery was open to them. . Then he allowed himself a last good word to the address of the only swashbuckler of the assistance who did not say a word during the whole session, Patrice Ribeiro, secretary general of Synergie-Officiers, who promised AFP the day before that the minister would not have a “good morning”: “Some people said that I would not have a good morning. It’s not true, I didn’t have a bad morning. ” Ball in the center.