“Part of the police is oppressed, others censor themselves”… Agnes Naudin condemns the “omerta” in the police
This is the dying “police system” described by Agnes Naudin in the book Police, omerta law *, co-written with former peacekeeper Fabien Bilheran. Along with him, this police captain, spokesperson for the FSU Department of Internal Affairs and the author of several books, collected the testimony of other police officers who openly denounced the dysfunctions in their institutions. “Police violence, casual sexism and racism, cover-ups of crimes, abundance of fraud in public records, corruption, hierarchical tyranny, union-mediated radicalization or even the politics of numbers…” list the two authors.
Often, they add, “the vast majority of civil servants fear the consequences to their professional and personal situation if they speak out.” “Writing a book was an opportunity for us to bring what we said to the attention of the public and the media. No one will be able to say what they don’t know anymore,” explains Agnès in an interview with Naudin. 20 minutes.
The book talks a lot about the failure of the police. What do you think is the reason?
This is plural. There are these judicial and administrative maneuvers to eliminate those who open it, those who denounce the facts of crime and torture they witnessed. The lack of independence of the IGPN (General Inspectorate of the National Police) poses a problem for the investigations it is supposed to conduct. There is also concern with preventive and legitimate medicine. Today, it is used to expel unsanctioned or disruptive agents.
Those who do not open are closed by trade unions, rating and transfer system. In summary, there is one part of the police that is oppressed and another that is self-censoring.
Police suicide rates remain high. Do you think the management has not taken action on the problem?
Many associations are created, like Pep, which deals with the prevention of suicides. The reason is that internal management is unable to implement effective tools. If the police knew there was an outlet and a real service to turn to, we would have everything to gain. There is one, but his role is to ensure that no one leaves and everyone stays. The management is unable to accompany and support civil servants who want to leave and undergo retraining. On the contrary, he crushed them.
Your co-writer Paris talks about PJ’s time with the drug squad, the disillusionment…
It explains what is already known to the general public, that is, crimes, crimes have been committed. For example, keeping drugs that must be destroyed in order to pass them on to informants. What we condemn is that the moment a police officer steps outside, we will try to crush him and take legal action against him. All the officers of the group will follow and commit written forgery because they have no choice but to put themselves in danger. To succeed, you have to keep your mouth shut, and of course.
You also point to the famous figurehead politics that former interior minister Manuel Valls said he was abandoning…
Not only was it not abolished, but it was worked on more effectively by creating a statistics department within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In the book, Stéphane Lemercier talks very well about what he created on the ground. It is necessary to achieve the objectives set by the commissioners for civil servants. For example, if we dismantled one point of agreement last year, we will have to find three, if not this year. Therefore, it will be necessary to manage and create some. For this, we can stop the seller on the beach in the summer. It’s called a police story.
It answers the questions: What story do we want to tell? And how do we create statistics to enhance this story? But all this is just a story, not reality. Or a reality that we have revealed.
What do you think should be done?
The first thing to do is to give the IGPN its independence. We could at least think about independent checks on the police and gendarmerie forces, who would investigate each other’s affairs. There are traces to be dug in this direction.
Medicine should also be more independent. Indeed, the doctors responsible for assessing civil servants whether they are injured or depressed are paid by the Home Office. A few doctors who recognize abuse and harassment have their contracts not renewed at all. Therefore, the civil servant should be given the opportunity to choose his own doctor. He could be on the list prepared by the ministry as experts in the courts. There is also a need to better support managing officers and commissioners with more tailored training, and to stop co-management with unions.
* ” Police, omerta law »Le Cherche Midi Editions, published December 2, 2022, 288 pages, €19.50