Better distribution of the police and gendarmerie forces on the territory: this is one of the reforms initiated by Gerald Darmanin before 2022. But will the young minister be able to carry out such a project? And why this sudden agitation?
According to information from Figaro published on January 10, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin maintains the project of “better distributing the security forces on the territory”: that is to say to modify the areas of competence between the police and the gendarmerie. But to do this, he has little time left until the potential end of his tenure at Beauvau in April 2022.
And the conservative daily conveniently reminded: “Nicolas Sarkozy had tackled this delicate project, in his time, before meeting resistance.” The comparison is frequent between Gérald Darmanin and the former President of the Republic who also occupied, and with ostentation, the chair of Georges Clémenceau. Logic: Gérald Darmanin, youngest Minister of the Interior of the Fifth Republic comes from the ranks of the former head of state and sometimes seems to follow in his footsteps.
So will the student surpass the master by completely reforming French public security, in just a few months? The big idea displayed here would be to rationalize the areas shared between the police and the gendarmerie, which have gradually overlapped over the years with the explosion of certain agglomerations like that of Toulouse.
Le Figaro quotes the minister: “In the agglomeration of Toulouse, there are four towns under the authority of the police, and all the rest of the area, very urbanized, is under the control of the gendarmerie. We must without taboos move towards a more efficient organization. ”
The newspaper also points out that France has around 100,000 gendarmes for around 150,000 police officers, with more than 95% of the national territory in the gendarmerie zone. But to even more harmonize a distribution that would like to see the gendarmes in the countryside and the national police in the city, it would still be necessary to reconcile all the local sensibilities of senators, deputies, mayors and the population in general.
The white paper on internal security published in November 2020 already caressed the project of rationalization and a related administrative reform was already pointing its nose. As noted Le Figaro, a single departmental security directorate in each department with the border police and the judicial police under its orders is envisaged. The same source also specifies that an experiment in this direction will be set up at the beginning of the year 2022 in three departments affected by the issue of the migration crisis: Pas-de-Calais, Savoie and the Pyrenees – Oriental.
Darmanin ends his mandate with a bang
It is therefore understandable that Gérald Darmanin wants to use all the time he has left in Beauvau to initiate structural reforms in the police and gendarmerie, as we have seen with the somewhat hasty announcement of a new police unit. “Super-CRS” by next summer, without any prior consultation with the intermediary bodies. In the chapter of a policy of “gesticulation”, according to the detractors of Darmanin, one can also add the press conferences intended to regularly present the action of the ministry in company of Marlène Schiappa or the belated publication of the white paper of the internal security in November 2020 – just after the publication of the new national plan for maintaining order, quickly tackled by the announcement of an enigmatic Beauvau for security … All with the proposed law on Global Security in background. A desire of Gérald Darmanin to try to forget the two ministers who preceded him in the same chair since 2017?
Asked by RT France, the former police commander Jean-Pierre Colombiès sneers: “It’s the old sea serpent this story of gendarmerie or police skills … There is a lot of interest that intersect and clash on this ground. We must even mention the caste of commissioners who do not want to see a police station disappear so as not to lose any commissioners, quite simply. It is more a fight of interests than a battle for the general interest, unfortunately … But assigning the gendarmes to the countryside and the police to the city also corresponds to a certain philosophy in each house: the gendarmes are less subject to the culture of results in terms of provision to justice. On the other hand, they have a very military mentality which reassures elected officials in general. The cops talk, they negotiate. And the gendarmes also have the capacity to project enormous resources on the ground very quickly, in particular to set up an investigation unit for example. ”
The other side of the coin, according to the former police officer: “On the other hand, the gendarmerie, at night, it is closed, while the national police station is always open. But in the end, Darmanin is above all the worthy inheritor of Sarkozy and this is a parameter to be taken into account: if he wants to reform, it is out of budgetary imperative and to have fewer civil servants … Let’s not forget nor are new issues currently emerging with a new emergence of municipal police forces and the private security sector! But can this reform, with what it will take away from chapel wars and egos, can it begin in just one year? I highly doubt it.”