It was a will of the executive. The deputies approved, Wednesday, September 22, at first reading, a strengthening of the penalties for the perpetrators of violence committed against members of the police force. Article 4 of the bill “Criminal liability and internal security”, which provides for this reinforcement, was adopted by a very large majority (52 votes to 3).
The text creates a specific offense in the penal code for violence against police officers, gendarmes, soldiers within the framework of an internal operation, municipal police officers, prison officers, firefighters or customs officers, as well as their families. Unanimously and with the agreement of the government, the deputies added in session, by way of amendments, the rural guards to this list.
The bill provides for seven years in prison and a 100,000 euros fine for violence resulting in total incapacity for work of more than eight days, five years and 75,000 euros for less or no incapacity. These penalties are increased in the event of aggravating circumstances.
“When we attack a policeman, a gendarme, it is not just anyone that we attack, we attack the Republic”, pleaded the Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti.
The examination of this article was accompanied by lively exchanges between the latter and LR deputies, who called for minimum penalties, or heavier penalties in the event of the death or permanent infirmity of the victim.
Eric Ciotti thus asked for “Minimum sentences for police attackers” in order to “To sanctify the uniform of the Republic”. The Minister of Justice denounced in return a “Bidding” of the right on security issues that will intensify “The more we will go towards the presidential election”. The penalties proposed by LR are either “Unconstitutional”, or accompanied by exemptions which make it “A floor with holes”, he quipped.
“We will see in 2022 what the French think”, replied LR Julien Ravier with reference to the presidential election. Republican deputies voted for the article, however.
For France Insoumise, hostile to the text, Ugo Bernalicis accused the government of “Clientelism vis-à-vis police organizations”.
The deputies also adopted in the evening an article strengthening the sanctions for motorists refusing to obey an injunction to stop by a police officer. We count in France “A refusal to comply every 17 minutes” was alarmed the co-rapporteur Jean-Michel Mis (LREM). The bill in particular provides for doubling the penalty incurred, increased from one to two years’ imprisonment and a fine from 7,500 to 15,000 euros.
Limits to the penal irresponsibility regime
The National Assembly also approved measures intended to develop the civil reserve of the national police, in order to transform it into an operational reserve, on the model of that of the national gendarmerie, which has some 30,000 people against about 6,500 for the civil reserve of the police.
It is “Diversify its recruitment and enhance its missions in a context of strong mobilization of the security forces over the coming years”.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, the deputies gave their green light at first reading also to the creation of new limits to the regime of criminal irresponsibility.
Provisions developed in the wake of the Sarah Halimi case, a Jewish sexagenarian killed by a neighbor, a cannabis user in the throes of a “Delusional puff”, according to psychiatric experts, and declared irresponsible.
First reading review is scheduled to continue on Thursday before the bill goes to the Senate.