By: V4 Agency
According to a survey, racism is not more endemic within police than in other professions but figures also show that the number of attacks against police has more than doubled in the last twenty years. Police are not the sole target of attacks as more than three hundred people were injured as a result of the ongoing gang wars in the capital.
French police have come under frequent criticism recently, with many accusing law enforcement officers of violence and racism. However, the survey conducted by Opinionway reveals that more than three quarters, or 78 per cent, of those asked believe that racism in police is not more common than in other professions.
Fully, 67 per cent of respondents told the polling institute that the problem of racism is not more common within the police than anywhere else. 11 per cent spoke even more positively of French police officers, saying racism is less prevalent within the police than in other workplaces. At the same time, 18 per cent of those surveyed believe that racism is more prevalent in French law enforcement than in other areas, while 3 per cent declined to answer.
Perceptions about police in countries neighbouring France is different, writes the France Bleu news portal in its piece on the findings. In Italy, 31 per cent of those asked said racism was less prevalent within police than elsewhere, compared with 26 per cent in the UK and 20 per cent in Germany.
Survey findings also show that three-quarters of the French believe that the police do not receive enough recognition. According to 71 per cent of those asked, French police do their job efficiently and competently. Nevertheless, 83 per cent said that tools available to police were insufficient. When asked about showing respect towards people, less than one-third, or 31 per cent, of respondents said that officers failed to show due respect for citizens. In the view of 32 per cent, French police officers are inadequately trained.
Indeed, French officers are often exposed to danger. According to data published by Le Monde, the number of violent attacks against them have more than doubled in the past two decades. According to the daily, some 85 attacks are directed towards French police every day, and that may be underestimating the actual figure.
While the year 2000 saw 13,392 attacks against French police officers, that figure more than doubled by 2019, rising to 31,257 cases.
Although the number slightly fell in 2020 to 27,659, it may also be the consequence of the lockdown introduced in March. Last year the largest number of anti-police attacks, fully 2,916, took place in Paris. With regards to individual departements, Seine-Saint-Denis – a suburb north of Paris that is home to a populous migrant community – is well ahead with 2,992 attacks.
This year also got off to a shaky start for police in France, with authorities recordnig a total of 2,288 attacks against them in January alone.
The most recent incident took place in a town called Saint-Gratien, in Somme departement, where about a hundred people gathered for a garden party despite the curfew. When police arrived, the partygoers began hurling stones at them. A video of the incident was posted on Twitter by the SICP police union.
However, criminals are not just attacking the police, clashes between gangs were also frequent in France last year. They resulted in three deaths and 280 injuries in the capital alone, despite the two nationwide lockdowns.
Le Parisien‘s article reveals that in most cases the knife was the gang members’ weapon of choice. Most clashes took place during the summer months, with seven out of the sixteen confrontations happening between June and August. The situation showed no signs of improving at the beginning of this year: the whole country was shaken by the case of Yuriy, a 15-year-old boy of Ukrainian descent, who was severely beaten by a 10-strong gang in the capital in mid-January.