“Significant increase in the use of firearms”

Photo: Rama / CC BY-SA 2.0 fr

France: internal paper indicates police officers are quicker to pick up guns and push since the beginning of the year

The knife attacker, who was killed on Sunday, 1.October, killed two women at the train station in Marseille, was killed very quickly once the security forces were alerted (cf. Knife attack in Marseille). Shooting had been done by foreign legionnaires, it soon emerged. They were in the context of Operation Sentinelle (German: Wache bzw. guard post) at the station prasent.

The media response to the rapid reaction also included a rehash of the spokeswoman of the Police national, Camille Chaize, who pointed out that police officers have been trained for some time to act quickly and independently in such traps, without waiting for special forces to arrive.

In light of the events in Marseille and the discussions that took place earlier this year about a law that would re-regulate the use of firearms by police, it was natural to think that Camille Chaize’s statement would suggest that police officers in France are now learning to pick up a gun and shoot more quickly.

The basic idea of the reform of the rules on the use of firearms was to harmonize the rules of the security forces. Police officers, like soldiers participating in Operation Sentinelle, should be able to respond to a terrorist threat just as quickly and therefore be subject to the same rules. Until now, it was the case that the more restrictive set of rules on the use of firearms by police officers suggested that, for example, in the environment of a terrorist attack or a possible terrorist attack, it would be better to wait for the special forces.

The new law on public security was passed at the beginning of the year. Since then, for example, police officers have been able to open fire on a fleeing car if they cannot stop it in any other way and the car poses a threat. As reported by Le Monde on Friday the 13th. October.

"The car driving towards them is not the same as it was yesterday"

"The car driving towards them is no longer the same as yesterday", Is quoted in the report the representative of a police union. Frederic Lagache explained that in the first six months since the entry into force of the new law on the use of firearms by the police, a weapon was used 95 times in connection with a threat by cars and shots were fired.

A total of 192 times a firearm use was noted in this period, according to Le Monde. So the case of the threat of a car make about half. It is also striking that in the same period last year, firearms use was recorded only 116 times. That’s a 65 percent increase, according to the newspaper, suggesting it’s related to the ease of firearms use.

The figures, according to Le Monde, are not official. At the annual press conference of the Inspectorate of National Police (l’Inspection generale de la police nationale) – "police de la police") was told at the end of September that there were "nothing to report" give. Afterwards, the newspaper as well as the TF1 channel had become aware of an internal paper in which the IGPN comes to a different conclusion, namely "a significant increase in the use of firearms" in the first six months of the year.

The most noticeable increase was in the number of declared warning shots. It increased from 2 to 19. These figures are galactically far from US standards (and also from the astromically high number of shots fired by the elite units when boarding rooms where terrorists were holed up). But in France, these relatively low numbers of "declared" warning shots a different weight, as the concealment of these numbers from the public indicates.

The police oversight authority explains the increase in warning shots by the fact that aggressions against police officers had increased. The police are also concerned about the fact that the number of shots fired by the machine, "which have involuntarily loosened" (i.O. tirs accidentels) has also increased markedly, to 23 in the first half of 2017 compared to 10 in the same period last year.

This is explained by the fact that police officers are not well acquainted with the rifles they now carry much more often than before, namely the Heckler and Koch G 36. The accidents with the rifle have been showing that the police officers have an actual ignorance of the weapon, the IGPN is quoted as saying.