Attacks On French Police Officers Have Doubled in 20 Years

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Attacks on French police officers have more than doubled in 20 years, with an average of 85 incidents against public authority officials recorded every day.

The statistical services of the French Ministry of the Interior have recorded a 2.3-times increase in the number of attacks in the last twenty years and Interior Minister Gerald Darmamin stated that the development should not be “trivialised.”

Jean-François Papineau, a 37-year police veteran and head of public security in Northern France, noted how much more violent the attacks have become saying, “it is no longer hostility but a call to murder.” French newspaper Le Monde reports.

According to the report, the French regions with the highest levels of assaults on officers are Paris, the notorious Parisian no-go-zone suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, and finally, the densely populated judicial area département du Nord that contains the city of Lille, on the Belgian border.

Police boss Papineau commented on an incident earlier this month in Villeneuve-d’Ascq in which a police officer in his region had been attacked by a gang of minors and required twelve stitches to his face as a result of the attack.

“This is a fundamental trend, which involves an active minority attacking the symbol of authority through police officers, who embody the permanent link between the state and the population. We are no longer just in a territorial challenge to the control of drug trafficking, but in questioning the very role of the institutions,” he said.

The estimates of 85 incidents per day on average may actually be an underestimate according to Le Monde, which states that many lesser attacks which do not result in injuries to officers are not reported at all.

Lawyer Virgile Reynaud, who specialises in defending police officers, said that other police may not report the incidents in fear of being taken off active duty.

“These officers see their mission as to be on the street, in contact with offenders, and they want to stay there. On the other hand, they also want justice to punish their attackers,” Reynaud said.

As anti-police violence continues in France, some have called on the government to create a new department within the riot police, the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS), to specifically handle incidents of urban violence.

Others, such as police in Nantes, have decried the light punishments for those who attack police, particularly far-left Antifa black bloc militants who target officers at protests.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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